Craig’s pump prices slowly falling |

Craig’s pump prices slowly falling

Jeff Swanson

As August approaches, it signals the beginning of the vacation season for many people throughout the country, and those people may not have to worry about the cost of filling the gasoline tank. According to some industry insiders, despite the high gas prices customers have been seeing at the pumps, relief is just around the corner.

“If things continue the way that they have been, it looks as if the rest of the summer will be good for motorists,” said Mary Greer of the American Automobile Association (AAA) said. “Refineries are all working at 100 percent capacity right now, and barring any major changes, it looks as though things should remain good for American motorists.”

With refineries working at or near capacity, gas prices should continue to remain stable, however, it is impossible to predict what may happen if a refinery were to go down.

“One thing that I never like to do is predict what gas prices are going to do,” Conoco Director of Public Relations John Bennitt said. “If a refinery had a problem, such as a fire, that can greatly influence the direction that gas prices may go. Right now, though, things are looking good for people when it comes to filling up at the pump, and hopefully they will stay that way.”

The lowest gas prices right now are in Missouri, where consumers are paying $1.19 a gallon for regular unleaded. The national average is $1.45 a gallon, with Colorado’s average at $1.66, down substantially from June 5, when Colorado’s average price was $181.6.

But, Craig’s prices aren’t falling as fast as they are in other cities around the state. At the Loaf N’ Jug on the west side of town, customers pay $1.79 per gallon.

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The lowest gas prices in the state can be found in Castle Rock, where regular unleaded gasoline costs $1.36 per gallon. The highest prices in the state are in Vail, where motorists pay $188.6 a gallon, down 10 cents from June 5, when a gallon of gas cost consumers $196.6.

“In Colorado, you can figure that 40.5 cents per gallon is going to taxes,” Bennitt said. “All of these are excise taxes, because sales taxes are not figured in. The cost of raw materials is also on the rise, including crude oil, which is two times what it was two years ago at this time.

“This is not just a cost that Coloradans have to incur, but rather something that gas customers are seeing globally,” he said. “When you factor all of these numbers in, it all leads to higher gas prices.”

According to Bennitt, most of the gas that Colorado consumers use has to be either shipped or piped in from other states, because Colorado has only two small refineries in the Denver area.

“We ship most of our oil in from northern Alberta (Canada), and we incur a huge cost to get it pumped through Montana,” he said. “With the increased price for electricity, which is how our pumps run, we are forced to pay three to four times as much just to get it here. Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the consumers, this is a price that we have to pass on to them.”

According to a report from the American Petroleum Institute, U.S. crude oil inventories rose unexpectedly, despite imports falling from a six-week high. The 909,000-barrel rise left inventories at 310.4 million barrels, 6.1 percent higher than last year.

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