Colorado gas prices drop

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Colorado’s statewide average for regular, self-serve, unleaded gasoline took a reprieve from its three days of record breaking prices last week to drop 1.5 cents to $1.83.8 per gallon, according to AAA Colorado.

The spiraling climb of the nation’s average for regular, self-serve, unleaded gasoline also took a slight reprieve, down 0.1 cents per gallon this week to $1.80.7 per gallon. The national average is up 5.5 cents per gallon over last month’s price of $1.75.2 per gallon and 25.8 cents higher than last year’s price of $1.54.9 per gallon. Colorado’s average price for regular, self-serve, unleaded gasoline is up 6.9 cents from one month ago and is 29.7 cents higher than this time last year.

Average gas prices were mixed for the nine cities reporting, with Glenwood Springs recording the highest weekly decrease at 3.2 cents, followed by Denver and Greeley reporting decreases of 2.4 and 1.1 cents. Colorado Springs and Pueblo reported slight decreases of 0.8 and 0.6 cents each. Fort Collins reported the highest weekly increase of 3.5 cents followed by Durango, Vail and Grand Junction also reporting increases of 1.3, 0.9 and 0.7 cents each. Of the cities tracked by AAA Colorado’s gas price survey, Vail’s average gas price remains the highest in the state at $2.10.9 cents per gallon.

While the price of crude oil remains above $37 per barrel, the outlook for gas prices through the rest of the spring and summer continues to look difficult for consumers. According to a report published Tuesday by the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies, U.S. gasoline demand this summer is expected to be at a record high of 9.4 million barrels per day; about 2 percent above last year.

To meet the expected demand, the report said U.S. refiners will need to run at full production and their products will need to be supplemented with record amounts of imported gasoline. Record amounts of crude oil also will need to be imported.

The study predicted crude oil prices would not fall below $28 per barrel for the rest of the year.

So far in 2004, gasoline imports are already approaching 9 percent of consumption, even though the nation is five weeks from the Memorial Day holiday weekend when the traditional high demand for gasoline during summer driving season begins.