Pain at pump changes a few habits |

Pain at pump changes a few habits

Scott N. Miller
Preston Utley/Vail DailyAlfred Bamberger thinks that alternate energy sources should be used.

EAGLE COUNTY – People are going to drive. But some are driving a little differently these days.Caught at the gas pumps Thursday, a few locals said they’re adjusting their habits in the face of gas prices at or above $3.20 per gallon.

“Now I’m driving until my low gas light comes on, waiting for prices to go down a little,” said Heather Burlison, who was filling her Subaru at the Shop n’ Hop in Eagle-Vail.”I’m not doing any road trips now, either,” she added. “We were going to go to Crested Butte to see the fall colors, but not now.”Burlison, who lives in Eagle-Vail and works in Edwards, makes a couple of trips a day. Because of that, her husband now drives the family SUV – which she had been driving – to his job in Bachelor Gulch.After filling his car with premium gas at $3.48 per gallon at the Shell station in Edwards, Alfred Bamberger said he’s also driving less these days.”I take my bike to work,” he said. “I conscientiously try to not take the car everywhere.”Like just about everyone, Bamberger said he’s not happy about the price of gas.

“On the other hand, maybe the gas should go up more,” he said. “If gas goes to $4 maybe the public will demand alternative fuels.”A native of Germany and still a frequent visitor to that country, Bamberger said customers who pull into a gas station near the Munich airport can choose between gasoline, diesel fuel, diesel made or mixed with vegetable oils, and hydrogen.”We could do that here,” he said.Filling up after a hunting trip north of Rifle, Frank Russum of Denver said he isn’t driving much at home.”I make one trip instead of five,” Russum said. “Last week I think I only put 52 miles on the car.”But, he said, “As long as you’ve got the money you’re all right.”Another Interstate 70 road-tripper was helping a friend move, and topping off at Edwards. When she’s home in Ridgway though, Denise Fisher said she’s trying to cut back on her trips.”I’m staying closer to home now,” Fisher said.And, with a big Ford pickup powered by a large V-10 engine pulling a five-horse trailer, “I don’t even check the gas mileage any more,” she said.

While some are trying to buy a bit less gas, others aren’t.Radu Dreghici of Edwards works in Vail Village, and drives every day. “I haven’t really changed anything,” he said. Asked what he might change if prices stay high or go higher, he shrugged a bit and said, “Maybe drive slower.”One of the problems on Colorado’s Western Slope is the distance between towns.”I’d cut out the weekend trips if I was going to make changes,” Karen Wolfe of Avon said. “But you kind of have to drive.”Ray Collins knows about driving.

An employee of the E-Z Go company, Collins repairs golf carts at about 25 golf courses around the region. He drives a company truck to those courses and uses a company credit card to pay for fuel.The price of fuel hasn’t cut into his usual rounds, Collins said. And, he added, he’s on the road so much that his own pickup usually just sits in his driveway.

“If I was paying for it, I wouldn’t be going nowhere,” he said.Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or Daily, Vail Colorado

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