Gas prices rising again |

Gas prices rising again

Cliff Thompson
Vail Daily/Bret Hartman Gerald Mutchie, of Map Transportation, fills the underground gas tanks Tuesday at the Shell gas station in Edwards.

As predicted, fuel prices have begun to creep up again and have notched a new statewide average price record of just over $1.82 per gallon.

That’s cheap by Vail Valley standards – where prices have already topped $2 a gallon – but prices here have not yet soared to the 2.06 a gallon average they hit in May 2001, according to the Colorado American Automobile Association statistics calculated from credit card receipts. Adjusted for inflation, the price of gasoline is cheaper than it was in 1982, AAA said.

California leads all states in the average cost of a gallon of gas -$2.20 – and the cheapest is in Oklahoma – $1.66.

“We’ll probably see more (price increases) before this is done,” said Mary Greer, spokeswoman for Colorado AAA, an organization that represents the motorists.

She said fuel prices in Denver jumped eight to 14 cents a gallon last week. Driving the increase in price of gas and diesel fuel is skyrocketing demand, Greer said. An increasingly industrial China has become a player on the world petroleum market, Greer said.

“We’re competing globally for oil,” she said. “Everyone’s thirsty for oil.”

Demand has exceeded the federal government’s projections for 2004 by 5 percent, Greer said. That’s already ahead of where summer’s peak demand was estimated.

On top of that the increased demand has taxed the production abilities of petroleum refineries around the world, she said.

In the mean time, AAA and Reader’s Digest are encouraging the country’s 135 million drivers to save a gallon of gas this week for Earth Day by modifying driving habits. Drivers are encouraged to slow down a bit, tune up their cars and make sure tires are properly inflated, Greer said.

Under-inflated tires and a poorly tuned vehicle can retard fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent.

If each driver in America saves a gallon, that will be equal to the amount of crude oil imported monthly from Kuwait, Greer said.

“We can have an impact on what is going on,” she said.

Prices will remain erratic, Greer said.

“Price volatility will continue through the rest of the year,” Greer said. “Whether it will go up or down is a good question.”

Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.

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