Gas prices continue to increase in Craig

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As Colorado residents continue to pay more at the pump, many are looking for alternatives to combat the rising gas prices.

As of Tuesday morning, Colorado residents were paying an average of $1.77 per gallon, up four cents from Monday's average price of $1.73.

The average price per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline in Craig is nearly $1.96. Only Vail is higher, a gallon of regular unleaded has surpassed the $2 mark.

"We've seen a steady, uprising of costs since April 4," said John Bennitt, Conoco public relations spokesperson. "It is not a crude oil problem, there is plenty of that, but rather we are looking at a problem with production.

"There have been two large refinery fires in the last month, one outside of St. Louis and the other outside of Los Angeles, and that has contributed to the supply shortage."

According to Bennitt, production is once again at 100 percent, but that doesn't mean that prices will be going back down anytime soon.

"It's really impossible to tell what is going to happen with the prices over the next few months," he said. "Especially when you live in Craig. You should always expect to see higher prices. The transportation costs are enormous. With no rail delivery or pipelines to the area, the only way to get the gas there is by truck, and that is expensive especially now."

The unusually high prices are forcing some Craig residents to flee to the North, and the cheaper prices found in Wyoming.

Wyoming residents only pay 7 cents in state taxes per gallon of gasoline, compared to the 22 cents per gallon Colorado residents pay.

"I've been driving up there to get my gasoline lately," Craig resident Red Noonan said. "I haven't figured out exactly how much I save, but I am saving money. I have a Chevrolet Celebrity that I fill up, and I also take along a couple five gallon cans."

Noonan has made the trip once, and will keep doing so as long as the prices remain high.

"I am paying anywhere from 18 to 24 cents less per gallon, and I have a 22-gallon tank," he said. "It's about 80 miles roundtrip, so with my two, five-gallon cans, I end up saving in the long run."

Those who are planning summer vacations must also take escalating prices into consideration. May 24 is one of the busiest days for drivers on the nation's roads, and this year, it may be one of the costliest as well.

"It is going to be interesting to see how drivers react to the increased prices for traveling this Memorial Day," AAA spokesperson, Mary Greer said. "One thing that they may want to do is check and make sure that their vehicle is performing at peak condition. A lot of vehicles are not functioning at 100 percent, which is one of the major causes for low gas mileage."

Greer recommends tune-ups, oil changes and regular air checks of tires to maximize the efficiency of your car or vehicle.

"There have been studies done that indicate if your car is working harder than it needs to be, it can waste up to 20 percent of your gas," she said. "It may cost between $200 to $300 for a tune-up, but in the long run, it may just be worth it."

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