Gas $3 a gallon at many valley stations |

Gas $3 a gallon at many valley stations

NWS Gas Prices PU 8-31

EAGLE COUNTY ” Valley motorists are primed to pay ever-skyrocketing prices at the pump, but not without a bit of a flap.

Colorado ranks 18th in the nation at $2.64 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association.

But valley residents, gas station owners and visitors are dealing with higher than average prices,

At the Eagle BP, J.C. Van Hekken fed his Jeep to the tune of $40 for 14 gallons.

“It’s like a gas crisis but nobody is getting scared,” Hekken said. “People think it’s not really a big deal. But the gas issue in America ” it really is [important].”

Van Hekken drives from Eagle to work in Edwards. He said he carpools and cuts out extra driving to save on gas.

He said he is also disgusted with the difference in price grades in Colorado compared to his home state of Tennessee. He said 85 octane gasoline in Colorado is more expensive than 87 octane in Tennessee.

And prices aren’t likely to drop, according the Colorado American Automobile Association’s Web site.

“The price of regular self-serve gasoline is set for a new round of increases as the petroleum industry begins to count the economic cost of Hurricane Katrina,” the drivers advocacy organization’s Web site said Wednesday.

“Colorado’s statewide average price for regular self-serve gasoline has continued to set a new record high every day since Aug. 8, when the price of regular self-serve reached $2.30 per gallon”

Gas station owners are also peeved.

“I dislike it worse, just like any owner,” said Ed Oyler, proprietor of the Eagle BP. “On the whole [owners] get blamed for it.”

The dislike is evident in the number of people driving off without paying for gas. Oyler said these numbers have skyrocketed along with the price of gas.

Customers fail to understand the price increase does not mean he is making more money, Oyler added.

“We’re making some of the smallest profit margins we’ve ever made,” he said.

One cause of the gasoline increase is too few refineries working at capacity, Oyler said.

And when petrol increases, he gets charged more by drivers who deliver soda and snacks. Those costs are passed along to the customer, he said.

“Gasoline affects everything,” he said.

Another customer at the Eagle pump, Debra Manning, muttered an “ow” when she saw the price per gallon. She said a contract between her company and area utility providers this year could increase next year due to the gas hike.

She drives 84 miles everyday from Steamboat Springs to her job in Eagle. She works as a utility locator for CenturyTel and Holy Cross Energy. She logs 1,000 miles per week in her pickup, paid for by her employer. Her total Wednesday came to $67 for 22 gallons of 87 octane gasoline.

At the Vail BP/Amoco, the cost for parts delivery to the service station rose $5 earlier this week due to the gas hike. “Everybody is feeling the crunch,” employee Corinne Mascarenas said.

“Looks like it’s going to hit $3 over the Labor Day Weekend,” Mascarenas said.

But the increase is not stopping her family’s trip to Canon City this weekend. She said she’d fill her tank Wednesday before prices get any higher.

John Hill stopped at the Avon Conoco to fill up for a tour of Glenwood Canyon and Aspen. Gas prices ” 40 center to 50 cents higher than where he lives in Aurora ” would not stop his vacation.

“You gotta live,” Hill said. “You can’t let it ruin your life.”

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or

Vail, Colorado

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