Safeway gas station in Woodland Park
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The Safeway gas station in Woodland Park was hopping Nov. 28, but many residents say they’ll start pumping elsewhere if local prices don’t come down.

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Some just shrug at paying up to 50 cents more for regular gasoline in Woodland Park while others are steaming mad and refuse to fill up at any of the eight local stations.

The movement is fueled by a discussion on Woodland Park’s Community Page on Facebook.

However, every vehicle owner in Colorado pays 22 cents a gallon to the highway users tax fund, or HUTF; of that 18.4 cents goes the federal government for highway maintenance and the remainder to the state for maintenance. The tax has not been raised since 1993.

The stations in Woodland Park are owned and operated independently, said a spokesperson at the corporate offices of Conoco and Phillips 66. “We supply the fuel so you’d have to check with the owners,” she said.

At the Alta station east of Woodland Park, the former Western Convenience, people do complain about prices — $2.97 on Thursday. “All the time,” said Marcus, the assistant manager who declined to give his last name.

But business is good. “We’re the first station all the way up the pass,” he said.

Marcus attributes the 50-cent increase to the distance traveled by the delivery trucks. “Companies charge more to deliver up here,” he said.

However, before the sale to Alta, gas at Western Convenience was less expensive, he said.

Customers are loyal at the Valero station in the center of town. “They are especially nice here and it’s locally owned and operated,” said Mary Lewis, a Woodland Park resident. “And why would I drive to Colorado Springs to buy gas? I enjoy coming to an independent seller.”

At Valero, gas is $2.84 for cash and five cents more on credit.

Either way, Jerry Penland has had it and is now conducting a personal boycott of gas stations in his hometown. “Over the last couple of months, crude oil prices have plunged worldwide resulting in downward pressure on gas-at-the-pump prices,” Penland wrote in an email to the Courier. “Worldwide supplies have exceeded demand. Around the U.S., practically everywhere except local, gas prices at the pump have dramatically decreased.”

Some people are mad and say they aren’t going to take it anymore. “I know lots of people who buy gas in the Springs and won’t stop at a station in Woodland Park even for cigarettes,” said Corrine Colby, a stylist at A Wild Hair in Divide who lives in Woodland Park.

And some stations in Colorado Springs still give points for buying gas, another reason Colby quit pumping locally. “I paid $2.39 a gallon last week in the Springs,” Colby said. “I’ve been noticing and am making a new plan.”

At the Alta store on North Colorado 67, there are two ways the managers determine gas prices. “We look at how much we are being charged for delivery and do a survey of our competitors,” said assistant manager Christy Brown.

Alta customer Morgan Ramsey buys gas in both cities. “I paid $3.18 a gallon last week in the Springs,” she said.

On the other hand, Brittany Kible is not upset at all. “If I need gas, I need gas,” she said. “I don’t pay attention.”

Haley DeLoach, Alta cashier, directs customer complaints about gas prices to the complaint center at 1-800-527-5476. “Keep hitting that ‘0,’” she said. “We’re hoping that will help.”

But DeLoach credits loyal customers who haven’t gone elsewhere for fuel. “We have the Kick Back card (discount) and Royal Crest milk and eggnog,” she said. “Milk is 20 percent of our sales.”

At Safeway, where regular is $2.99, there’s no evidence of a boycott, at least not late last week. “I shop at Safeway and get 30 cents off a gallon,” said Judy Feeney, speaking at the pump. “In England, gas is $8 a gallon.”

At the Alta station at 21st Street and Colorado Avenue in Colorado Springs, gas was $2.59 on Friday. According to Michael, the sales associate, the manager used to go around and check prices locally but he isn’t sure if the manager still does that.

A check with Google shows that Altagas in southern Colorado comes from the company’s oil refinery in Alamosa.

A click on gasbuddy.com in late November shows that the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in Denver is $2.30, $2.40 in Colorado Springs and $2.74 in Divide.

Perhaps DeLoach has the answer for why gas prices are consistent throughout Woodland Park. “It’s like playing a game of chicken,” she said.

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

Pikes Peak Courier Reporter

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