Gas prices in Cortez spiked 15 cents overnight Monday to $3.69 a gallon on Tuesday. Across Colorado, the average price has steadily fallen over the past 30 days to a low of $3.59.
Crude oil prices have also declined over the past two weeks, from a high of $103 per barrel on July 23rd to $97 a barrel on Tuesday. David Fraley, a local gas supplier, said crude oil prices normally dictate the cost to suppliers like him.
“We’re all scratching our heads about the overnight increase too,” said Fraley. “Normally we see a (price) move coming.”
Fraley said that he could only offer a “bold speculation” about the sharp rise at the pump.
“There’s been no large price movement throughout the summer when demand is usually highest,” he said. “This could be a possible reaction to a lack of price activity earlier in the summer.”
On The Cortez Journal’s Facebook page, one woman posted that she was glad she filled her truck before the spike. Another woman lamented wishing she had.
Late Monday, the Giant store at Main Street and Mildred Road was the first local station to raise gasoline prices, from $3.54 to $3.69 per gallon. The City Market station had mirrored the same price by Tuesday morning. Fraley said those two stores move the most fuel, guiding prices in the local market.
Giant and City Market stores in Cortez are supplied by Western Refining. Last week, the El Paso-based refinery announced $128.8 million in net income for its second quarter ending June 30. The company reported more than $10 billion in net sales in 2013.
As of press time Thursday, both Giant and City Market had dropped their price per gallon by a nickel to $3.64, but other stations along Main Street still advertised $3.69 per gallon. Crude oil prices were trading below $97 per barrel on NASDAQ Thursday morning.