Colorado Gas Prices Set to Spike
AAA forecasts highest pump prices since 2015
DENVER (March 1, 2018) – Cue the hackneyed jokes from the late-night talk show hosts: Gas prices will soon hit their priciest national average since the summer of 2015. That's the takeaway from a new forecast from AAA that found Americans can expect to pay as much as $2.70 per gallon this spring – nearly 40 cents more than the pump price this time last year.
"They say only two things in life are certain: Death and taxes. I humbly submit a third: Gas market volatility," said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. "All told, political instability in some oil-producing regions, high crude oil prices, and high domestic demand have come together to drive up gas prices in 2018, with additional spikes sure to come. Facing increases up to 40 cents per gallon in some markets, consumers may be driven to make lifestyle decisions to cut costs."
A new AAA survey found the vast majority of consumers would, indeed, change their driving habits or lifestyle to offset higher gas prices. Nationally, one in four say they would start making changes at $2.75, while 40 percent say $3.00 is their tipping point. In Colorado, 13 percent of consumers would change their driving habits at $2.75, while one in four say they'd act more deliberately at $3.00 a gallon. Notably, not until $4.00 per gallon prices would a majority of Coloradans (66%) change their behavior. The chasm between motorists nationally and in Colorado is largely the result of the state's robust economy and resulting high consumer confidence, per AAA Colorado.
As of February 28, a gallon of unleaded will run Coloradans an average of $2.41 – up from $2.20 this time last year, but a full 12 cents below the national average. Vail motorists pay the highest per-gallon price, at $2.97, while Durango features the state's cheapest fill-up at $2.29 per gallon. Denver drivers, meanwhile, can expect to pay an average of $2.35 per gallon.
"Prices will begin to heat up in about a month's time," McKinley said. "That's when refinery maintenance should be wrapped up and we'll be making the switch to more expensive and energy-rich summer-blend gasoline. Warmer weather will drive up demand, and prices with it. Motorists should expect consistent increases throughout April, May, and into the start of summer."
Fuel Savings Tips for Consumers
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's American Driving Survey, on average Americans drive 32 miles a day and spend 51 minutes behind the wheel. AAA offers a few ways to conserve fuel:
- Slow down. The faster you drive the more fuel you use. Every 5 mph over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.18 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy.
- Share work or school rides by carpooling or consider public transportation.
- Do not use your trunk for long-term storage. The heavier your car, the more fuel it uses.
- Combine errands. If possible, park in a central spot and walk from place to place.
Summer Look Ahead
AAA expects summer gas prices to be just as expensive as in the spring, but with a twist: They likely won't increase quite so quickly. No spikes here. Looking ahead to the summer months, cascading factors – U.S. gasoline supply-demand dynamics, domestic gasoline production rates, and global crude demand – will shape the summer forecast. Stay tuned!
About AAA Colorado
More than 660,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's most prominent advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit aaa.com.