Hurricane Katrina pumps up gas prices |

Hurricane Katrina pumps up gas prices

Heidi RiceWestern Garfield County Staff
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

RIFLE Early Tuesday morning, gas prices at the Kum & Go convenience store in New Castle were listed at $2.75 for unleaded fuel. By 4 p.m. the pump read $2.99.The region, like the rest of the country, has been hit hard by the effects of Hurricane Katrina, which has pummeled the Gulf Coast and shut down oil refineries and pipelines, resulting in soaring gas prices around the country.From Rifle to Glenwood Springs, gas prices jumped 14- to 20-cents per gallon in one day, many nudging the $3 per gallon mark for unleaded.This is too high, said Robert Jackson, of Rifle, who was filling up his dual-tank truck with premium gas at the Shell station in Rifle. Its got to be lower.Jacksons bill came to $97.89.According to Mary Greer, spokesperson for AAA Colorado, it is still unknown when or if gas prices will come down until the long-term effects of Hurricane Katrina have been determined.I think the first step is to give the industry a chance to see what needs to be done and get back to full operation, Greer said. We need to evaluate how much time its going to take. And depending on what the demand does, it might create a different outcome.The long Labor Day weekend has typically seen higher gas prices as people travel, and then tend to drop afterwards. But that might not be the case this year. Now with Katrina, the question is, When will all the refineries come back on line and when will the prices peak out? Greer said. Even before Hurricane Katrina hit, gas prices had already jumped three times this year in April, July and early August.The statewide average for gas in Colorado is currently at $2.63, based on credit card transactions at the filling stations.As of Tuesday, prices for unleaded gas in the region ranged from $2.89 for unleaded at the Stop n Save Conoco station in New Castle to $2.99 at several stations in Glenwood Springs and $2.98 at the Phillips 66 station in Rifle.When asked why a hurricane in the southeast portion of the country would affect Colorado prices, Greer said that Colorado gets its oil from all over the country Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma and the mid-continent region.That part of the region Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama is a significant part of the off-loading, Greer said. Were dependent on getting our energy from all over the country.For more information on gas prices in your area, see AAAs Fuel Price Finder at

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