Colorado Gas Prices Surpass National Inflation Adjusted Record

Congratulations, Colorado, you did it!  According to the Automobile Association of America’s fuel gauge report, gasoline is now more expensive in Colorado than it has ever been in America, even adjusting for inflation.

As U.S.A. Today reports, the national record was set back in March of 1981, and in today’s dollars would be $3.223.  Average prices in every region of Colorado have surpassed that mark, with Vail hitting $3.506.

The national average is a relatively inexpensive $3.129, but you apparently can’t find that anywhere in Denver.  According to Gasbuddy.com, the cheapest in town is $3.14 at the Stapleton Sam’s Club at 7805 E. 25th Ave.

If you aren’t thrilled with our new record, you might want to blame Texas and Wyoming.  Read on to hear why…According to the Oil Price Information Service, Colorado gas prices surged as a result of a fire at Valero’s  McKee, Texas refinery, and have stayed high because a Sinclair refinery in Wyoming was supposed to be up and running last Saturday, but is falling short of production targets.  This lack of capacity, combined with ever increasing demand, has put a tight squeeze on gasoline supplies in Colorado and Utah.

Whatever the reason for the refining shortfalls, it is clear that high crude oil prices are not to blame for this year’s gasoline price surge, as this graph from AAA shows:

Gasoline prices have lept to record levels while oil prices has remained relatively tame.

Republican an Democratic officials alike point to alternative sources of energy as a possible solution, with both parties supporting expansion of the use of ethanol.  Of course, the explosive growth in demand for ethanol has caused corn prices to more than double, as well, as corn is the primary agricultural product currently used in the mass production of ethanol.

A few drivers of flex fuel vehicles have found some relief from high gas prices by relying more on E85, which is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, as the Rocky Mountain News reported last week.

Those interested in switching to E85 should first check to see if their car can use the fuel, at www.E85fuel.com.

Then you can try to find a gas station near you that sells it, by going to e85vehicles.com.

Don’t just assume, though, that you are saving money by getting E85 for a lower price, as ethanol holds less energy than gasoline, thus you’ll get fewer miles out of each tank of E85 than you will from a tank of regular gasoline.

We’d love to see some pictures of the highest gas prices you can find.  Feel free to send those to mmehringer@coloradoconfidential.com and we’ll post the highest price we get!

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Mark Mehringer

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