Gas pains: Colorado Springs has had region's biggest average jump in fuel prices

By Wayne Heilman Updated: August 21, 2013 at 6:53 am • Published: August 20, 2013 | 5:55 pm 0

If you thought gas prices skyrocketed in Colorado Springs this past winter, you were right.

Colorado Springs has had the biggest average jump in gasoline prices in the five-state Rocky Mountain region so far this year, according to a study by the Chicago-based gasoline price monitoring website GasBuddy.com.

The study found that the three biggest one-day price increases in the Springs averaged 11 cents, the most in a region that also includes Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Utah. The Springs was a penny ahead of Ogden, Utah, and four cents more than Denver.

The website didn't specify which three days registered the biggest local price increases, but local gas prices surged nearly 80 cents a gallon from Jan. 22, when the Springs had the nation's lowest average gas price at $2.74 cents a gallon, to Feb. 22, when the price hit $3.53 a gallon.

Still, Colorado Springs drivers had it better than a lot of other places, even with the dramatic increase. Local prices were 55 cents below the national average on Jan. 22 and about 20 cents a gallon below the national average a month later.

Local prices peaked at nearly $3.80 a gallon just before Memorial Day, then declined by nearly 40 cents a gallon the next month.

Soaring prices for Canadian crude oil are to blame for price spikes in the Rocky Mountain region, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. The site allows users to post retail gasoline prices by station to help consumers find the lowest price in a specific area, and tracks prices in 183 U.S. and Canadian cities, the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the 11 Canadian provinces.

The local price increases were on par with the East Coast and slightly lower than those in the Gulf Coast region, but less than a third of the nation's biggest spike - 34 cents in Fort Wayne, Ind., and two dozen other Midwestern cities, DeHaan said.

Colorado Springs also ranked near the top in the Rocky Mountain region for the number of days so far this year with price increases or decreases of a penny or more: 63 days of price increases and 54 days of price decreases. Just eight other cities had more days with price increases of a penny or more, with Stockton, Calif., leading the pack with 72 days of such increases. Many more cities had more days of price decreases of a penny or more a day, led by Indianapolis with 174 days.

Gasoline prices in Colorado Springs have changed little in the past two months. The average was $3.43 a gallon on Tuesday, 14 cents lower than the national average and four cents less than the statewide average, according to GasBuddy.

A separate survey by AAA Colorado, which looks at the last gasoline sale of the previous day paid for with a credit card, found ColoradoSprings had the lowest average price of the 10 cities it monitors at $3.43 a gallon on Tuesday.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman

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