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Vail Valley gasoline prices are set to rise soon

Demand outstripping supply as economy recovers

The price of gasoline in Vail and other areas could hit $3 per gallon or more in coming weeks, according to industry analysts.
Daily file photo

Gasoline is going to cost more this year than it did in 2020. But those coming price hikes carry some good news.

According to a recent update from GasBuddy, a national price tracking and analysis firm, the prices are rising due largely to demand. Overall, average prices nationwide last week increased by 2%.

In the news release, GasBuddy head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan said OPEC nations have throttled back production, helping create a situation in which demand is rising faster than supply. DeHaan’s analysis states that without a recovery in production, national average prices could rise between 10 and 50 cents per gallon by spring.



Skyler McKinley, director of public relations and government affairs for AAA Colorado, said any discussion of gas prices quickly gets complicated.

McKinley noted that the current price of crude oil is high right now — more than $61 per barrel in Feb. 17 trading. That’s mostly due to a drop in production, from both Russia and the OPEC nations.



Current weather conditions in the southern U.S. have also knocked several refineries off line. That’s also going to affect prices.

While gas prices in Vail early this week were roughly equivalent to those in the same week in 2020, that’s going to change, McKinley said.

McKinley predicts prices in Vail will crest $3 per gallon this year, while most other places will see prices roughly equivalent to 2019 prices.

Those increases will happen before the annual spike that comes when refineries in the spring shut down for maintenance and switching to summer-blend fuels.

While prices are set to go up McKinley said he doesn’t expect fuel costs to have much of an impact on driving trips, especially if prices stay below $3.50 per gallon in most of the country.

A $75 difference in the price of fuel on a family vacation “isn’t enough to dissuade travel,” McKinley said.

That could change if prices go above $3.50 per gallon, McKinley said. But, he added, he doesn’t expect prices to skyrocket as they did during 2008, when gas could cost nearly $5 per gallon in the Vail Valley.

A major difference, McKinley said, is that the U.S. has become a net exporter of oil since those days.

“This is happening across the country,” McKinley said. “Every American is going to see this. That’s typical of a recovering economy.”

By the numbers

$2.83: Feb. 16 average price per gallon for regular gasoline in Vail.

$2.41: Feb. 16 average price per gallon for regular gasoline in Denver.

$2.88: Feb. 19 average price per gallon for regular gasoline in Vail.

$2.63: Feb. 20 average price per gallon for regular gasoline in Vail.

Source: AAA Colorado.


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