While some parts of the U.S. are seeing a drop in gas prices, Coloradans are still paying a lot at the pump. The average price for a gallon of gas is $4.89, 9 cents above the national average. Skyler McKinley with AAA Colorado says that a combination of factors are pushing our costs up.
"Prices are high because demand is really high, folks are still coming to Colorado."
Colorado's popularity as a travel destination has people driving through our state and tapping into our already strained supply of gas.
"What we're seeing here is robust demand in Colorado that's diminished our stocks and sent prices higher. We're a major tourist destination of course in the winter months, but also significantly in the summer months. Tourists driving to and through Colorado drive the price upward.
McKinley also says that Coloradans themselves tend to drive a lot, in part because our average income is higher than other places.
"Colorado especially if you calculate it's growth in the past 20 years, tends to be higher-income more affluent folks who are more inclined to drive to go on vacation for leisure travel, all of that sends prices upward as well."
Those premium prices are hitting people two-fold, directly at the pump, and contributing to cost increases of everything else that needs to be shipped around the country.
McKinley says that these prices are particularly hard on people who have to drive from site to site for work. But he has a few tips to save on gas, he says if you haven't become part of a buyers club or reward program now is the time.
"Generally, buyers clubs don't mark up their fuel that much, so a Costco membership, Sam's Club membership if you can pretty consistently get gas there that's a way to save."
But he says the biggest break to your wallet could come from changing your behavior. McKinley says that the costs of having a lead foot aren't limited to tickets. He says speeding, quick acceleration and hard braking uses up a lot more gas than you think. He also says that taking off extra weight, like a pair of skis or an unused roof rack, can help.
"Fundamentally, behavioral changes are the only way to save significantly."
He says that means combining errands, taking public transit or riding your bike instead of driving if you are able to. But McKinley acknowledges that that is not possible for everyone.
"So many Coloradans have their backs against the wall and they're going to and from multiple jobs. But if you have any free time small behavioral changes can save significantly.
Unfortunately, like many other experts, McKinley does not have a rosy outlook on gas prices for the rest of the year. He says that budgeting for elevated gas prices into 2023 is a wise choice. And he added, that due to several unpredictable factors, prices could go even higher.
"It might get worse if we have a bad hurricane season in the United States for example, or if the conflict with Russia were to expand."
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