Gas prices in Craig in Craig are higher than the state average. What gas prices may go up to in the peak driving months is still a guess, AAA spokesman Eric Escudero said.

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Gas prices in Craig in Craig are higher than the state average. What gas prices may go up to in the peak driving months is still a guess, AAA spokesman Eric Escudero said.

Pocket pain at the pump

Area average gas price climbs 14 cents higher than state average

Fuel saving tips:

• Use lowest grade gasoline your car can take. Unless the vehicle owner's manual calls for premium gas, there's no reason to use it.

• Slow down. For every mile driven above 55 miles per hour, fuel economy drops by 2 percent. And gas mileage tends to drop quickly at speeds above 60 mph.

• Assume that for every 5 mph driven faster than 60 mph, you might as well be paying an additional 20 cents per gallon.

• Drive in the highest gear, at the lowest possible speed. The slower the engine turns, the less gas used.

• Don't accelerate when driving uphill - it makes your mileage per gallon plummet. Instead, try to drive at the same speed, or slower.

• Try to brake less by anticipating stops.

• Ditch luggage racks, roof racks and related outdoor gear and put it away until it's time to use it. The drag created from the gear can reduce your mileage per gallon by up to 5 percent.

• Get rid of junk in the trunk. Every 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent.

• Keep up with routine maintenance. Be sure tire pressure is at the recommended PSI according to manufacturer specification. Regularly change air filter. A properly functioning car will result in better gas mileage.

- Source: AAA of Colorado

— With a statewide average of $3.11 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, Colorado's fuel prices rank among the lowest in the United States, according to the AAA of Colorado, tying with South Carolina for the fifth cheapest in the country.

However, with a $3.253 per gallon area average, that fact comes as little comfort to Craig and Moffat County motorists feeling more of a pocket pain at the pump.

"Unfortunately," AAA spokesman Eric Escudero said, "Craig is up there with some of the highest prices in the state."

In its latest gasoline report, released each Wednesday, AAA of Colorado reported the area's average as close to the priciest in the state. Durango, the report indicates, is 2 cents higher at $3.27 per gallon and is the third-highest average in Colorado, behind Vail ($3.43) and Glenwood Springs ($3.35).

The area's average is about a penny less than last week ($3.267) but 66 cents more than a year ago, $2.59 per gallon.

Denver and Colorado Springs have the least expensive average - $3.05 per gallon - followed by Greeley at $3.06 per gallon.

The difference, Escudero said, lies in transportation costs and competition. Costs for smaller, mountain communities are typically higher than big cities, which also have more stations and a greater number of places to fill up, he said.

"Where there is a gas station on every corner, there is competition for consumers," he said.

On its Fuel Price Finder, AAA of Colorado reported the gas prices for seven gas stations in the Craig and Moffat County area code.

According to Price Finder, the city's two operating Kum & Go stores had the highest prices - $3.349 per gallon - followed by Go-Fer Foods and Craig Conoco, (tied at $3.299), Loaf N Jug ($3.249), Trevco Inc. ($3.199) and Craig Cardlock ($3.029).

On the national level, the $3.246 average price of unleaded set an all-time record high Wednesday.

"It's not one of those records you'd like to see broken," Escudero said.

Before this year, Escudero said, gas prices in Colorado had never been above $3 in March. Typically, that's a number motorists are more likely to see in May or June, the peak travel times of the year, he said.

The higher prices this year lead some industry experts to believe $4 per gallon could be coming, while others contend the price peak will come long before that mark, the spokesman said.

At this point, it's anyone's guess what actually will transpire, he said.

"It is impossible to predict gas prices," Escudero said. "The only consistency in gas prices is the inconsistency."

• Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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