Gas prices level, but have yet to go down |

Gas prices level, but have yet to go down

— Filling up at the pump is getting a bit less dreadful as gas prices stabilize from a steady uphill hike since January. But local drivers shouldn’t expect a drop in the price per gallon any time soon. It may take a month or more for Steamboat customers to enjoy any price relief.

Assistant manager Lona Goodwin said 7-Eleven reached its unleaded price per gallon peak at $1.65 in March and has stayed there ever since. Although the convenience store on the west side hasn’t begun to pull back prices, Goodwin said she thinks the rates will start coming down in the next month.

“We never got above $1.65 per gallon for unleaded and we’re still there,” she said. “People just seem to be dealing with it. They have to drive and we have a lot of commuter traffic. It really hasn’t hurt business too much but our customers ask all the time when the prices are going to come down.”

The American Automobile Association reported late this week that Colorado’s average unleaded gasoline prices continued to even out for the second week in a row and dropped an average of 1.1 cents to $1.50 from last week’s prices. The national average is now $1.53 per gallon.

Go-Fer Foods clerk Jean Swingle said that her station is still charging $1.68 for unleaded but she’s hopeful to see a decline in the price in the near future.

“Denver’s already started dropping their prices,” Swingle said. “Our customers say things like, ‘It costs me a fortune to fill my tank’ and I agree, prices are sky-high.”

The members of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) have agreed to increase production of crude oil by an additional 1.7 million barrels per day and that has resulted in the reduction in crude oil prices.

Although Routt County residents won’t see a drastic reduction at the pump for about a month, U.S. Department of Energy officials have said they believe prices will fall gradually by Memorial Day weekend.

Chris O’Halloran, vice president and director of operations for Storm Mountain Express, a private executive van service, said her company didn’t change its rates this season but will be taking pricing precautions for next ski season in case gas prices continue to be volatile.

“We didn’t add any kind of a surcharge for fuel this season,” O’Halloran said. “But I did a slight increase for next season and noted that our rates are subject to change. Just in case this happens again.”

–To reach Bryna Larsen call 871-4205 or e-mail

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