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Pump prices squeezing local budgets

Scott N. Miller
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyLocal resident Carol Lundeen says about rising gas prices: "I'm just grateful we don't have a long commute."
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EDWARDS ” This is starting to hurt.

Filling up with gas priced at $3.40 per gallon Friday morning, Cole Allison said his personal budget is taking a beating.

“I live in Gypsum and drive to Vail every day,” Allison said. “I figure I’m spending about $400 a month in gas right now, and it’s killing me.”

To keep his Ford Ranger pickup running up and down the highway, Allison, who’s in his early 20s, said he’s all but given up eating out.

“I’m learning how to cook,” he said. “But when you’re working late, it’s hard to find the time.”

Susan Kittler lives in Utah, where gas is still under $2.90 per gallon. Passing through Edwards on her way to Montezuma, in Summit County, she said she and her husband have cut back, too.

“We live pretty simply,” she said. “But we never go out to eat any more.”

Asked how much higher the price of gas has to go before it really starts putting a pinch on her household budget, Kittler said “not much.”

Local resident Carol Lundeen said the price of fuel has prompted her to buy a more efficient car.

“We just bought a Honda Civic,” Lundeen said. “I’m just grateful we don’t have long commutes, so our driving is just buzzing around here.”

Another Edwards resident is getting ready to trade down herself.

“I’m probably going to trade this for a smaller car,” Jill Orsatti said, pointing at her black Lexus sport utility vehicle.

The Lexus does all right, she said, between 21 and 25 miles per gallon, but Orsatti has her eye on the gas-sipping Toyota Prius hybrid, or perhaps an American car that can run on “E-85,” a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

“I want ethanol stations now,” Orsatti said. “Right now you can only get it in Gypsum and in Leadville.”

The good news about the alcohol-based fuel is its cost ” about $1.99 per gallon in Gypsum ” but the bad news is that using the ethanol blend will cut a vehicle’s gas mileage by about 30 percent.

That’s a trade Orsatti is willing to make, since the ethanol blend burns cleaner than gasoline.

She recently went to the Internet to figure out her “carbon footprint,” an estimate of how much carbon dioxide she’s putting into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide has been identified as a contributor to global warming.

After figuring out her “carbon footprint,” and inspired by Vail Resorts’ decision to get all its electricity from wind power, Orsatti has now signed up for wind power herself.

“We just can’t keep supporting the oil companies,” she said.

Jeannie and Matt Mossay were feeling pretty good filling up at Edwards on their way from San Diego to Yellowstone National Park.

The Mossays had borrowed a gas-sipping Prius from Jeannie’s mom for the trip. Matt Mossay said they’d only put gas in the car about three times since leaving California.

Even driving a gas miser, though, Matt Mossay said “We’re pretty close” to having to make cutbacks in their household budget because of the price of gas.

Allison said he wishes now he hadn’t bought the truck he did earlier this year.

“When I bought this I didn’t predict that gas prices would get so high,” Allison said. If he’d known, Allison said he probably would have picked a truck with a smaller engine, and maybe decided he could do without four-wheel-drive. As it is, he’s paying for the truck, and much more than he expected to keep it running.

“These prices are going to push me to ask for a raise,” he said.

Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

Vail Daily, Vail Colorado


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