Gas prices drop after record high week

The statewide average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline continued its slow decline Monday, three days after prices soared to a new Colorado record.

According to AAA of Colorado, an organization that tracks and monitors gasoline prices nationwide, rising tensions in the Middle East, a foiled terrorist plot in the United Kingdom, and increased summertime demand for fuel combined to cause Friday's price spike.

Prices rose to $3.076 per gallon, a price significantly lower than costs in Craig, about $3.20 per gallon, but still above the previous record average of $3.074.

As of Monday, the statewide average had dipped by about a penny, to $3.063 per gallon, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report.

"So far we're seeing prices come down," said Alexa Gromko, a spokesperson for AAA of Colorado. "Whether that lasts or not remains to be seen."

Gromko said the remoteness of the Western Slope, meaning longer, more expensive hauling for fuel companies, causes the disparity between local prices and statewide averages.

However, prices here aren't the highest in the state.

Last week, when the old per-gallon record fell, prices in Vail soared to $3.35 per gallon, the highest recorded in the state. Prices in Pueblo and Fort Collins also set record highs.

Gromko said the recent fuel price increase, and subsequent decrease, are affected by analysts' response to world events, which shape the cost of crude oil.

She said prices should taper off after Labor Day, when demand lessons.

A shortage of diesel fuel should last for another month or so, she said. States such as Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas have been hit hardest by the shortage, the spokesperson said.

"We understand how frustrating it is," Gromko said. "The bottom line is that people get very agitated that prices keep going up. Certainly we're all hoping they continue to go down."

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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