The Yampa Conoco had the highest prices for unleaded and diesel fuel in Routt County Saturday. Ever-rising gasoline prices are paining South Routt commuters.

Photo by Melinda Dudley

The Yampa Conoco had the highest prices for unleaded and diesel fuel in Routt County Saturday. Ever-rising gasoline prices are paining South Routt commuters.

Gas prices painful for commuters

South Routt drivers face rising costs of frequent trips to Steamboat Springs

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— Between Steamboat Springs and South Routt, there's roughly a 1,000-foot gain in elevation - and a 14-cent average gain in the price of a gallon of gas.

While it's nickels and dimes by the gallon, the price difference amounts to a few dollars with each fill-up. Factoring in the frequent fill-ups required for those who make the roughly 50-mile round-trip commute to Steamboat and the ever-escalating prices of fuel, the punch to South Routt pocketbooks becomes even harder.

"This is the most I've ever paid for gas," Megan Moore-Kemp saidwhile washing her car windows at Yampa Conoco on Saturday.

At $4.50 a gallon for 85 octane Saturday, Yampa Conoco had the highest gas prices in Routt County. Steamboat Springs gas stations averaged $4.31 that day, and a gallon of unleaded was going for $4.35 in Hayden.

"I'm a big supporter of local businesses, but I fill up in Steamboat whenever I can," Moore-Kemp said.

The statewide average fuel price was $4.08 on Saturday, down from the national average by one cent, according to AAA.

In Oak Creek, the only people who seem to fill up in town are those who work in town, said Julie Rubalcaba at the town's Sinclair station. Anyone who can fill up in Steamboat, does, she said.

"We get a lot more people coming in and saying, 'I only want $10 worth.' You get a lot more pre-pays," she said.

Lower cost of living is one thing that attracts people to live in South Routt, but if fuel costs continue to rise, the commute will have greater impact on the supposed savings, Rubalcaba said.

In the spring, Rubalcaba commuted daily to Steamboat and drove on her job, often putting in 150 miles each day. Even with some mileage reimbursement, she decided it wasn't worth it anymore and now works in Oak Creek, she said.

According to preliminary results from the South Routt transit feasibility study prepared in May, 46 percent of South Routt drivers travel to Steamboat Springs at least five times a week. Another 20 percent make the trip two to four times per week.

In its examinations, the feasibility study assumed a then-current gas price of $3.45 a gallon. Less than three months later, the cost of fuel is up another dollar and isn't expected to back down.

Fuel prices aren't just increasing the bill customers pay at the pump; they also are raising the price of nearly everything else consumers buy at Sinclair, Rubalcaba said.

"Since gas prices have gone up, delivery fees have gone up, so the prices of everything inside has gone up, too," Rubalcaba said. "It's affecting us on all sides, as consumers and as a business."

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

handyman 6 years, 2 months ago

Another factor in the increased cost of gas is credit card fees. They have increased and eat up a lot of the profit. At Weston's, even though it's a Conoco store, it's still individually owned and I've watched the price of gas skyrocket and the profit margin dwindle. Owner's of stations like Weston's only make pennies on the gallon. They are barely breaking even, if at all, on the store's total sales. The small station owners are having to close their doors because they can't make it at all. The Oak Creek Sinclair was closed down for a while. Two of the four stations in Kremmling closed and one of the remaining is really struggling. I'm sure that we'll see more and more closing their doors in the near future.

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BoatMaster 6 years, 1 month ago

Why don't the stations add a few more cents to the gallon to stay open??

Nobody tells them how much to charge and if they all are only making a few cents then there is no unfair competition. I think I would try pricing my products at a level that lets me stay in business and see what happens.

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handyman 6 years, 1 month ago

Boat - Commuters are already complaining that the prices are too high in So Routt. Small independent stations have a really tough time making a profit. I'm sure most of us have seen what the prices are like in any convenience store. There's a large mark-up on all goods. How high can they go before people stop buying?

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 1 month ago

Time to expand transit service to oak creek? north routt? Maybe start with a couple runs in the morning and afternoon/evening run?

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ThreeJobs 6 years, 1 month ago

$3.99 in Silverthorne today. Why the 50 cent difference?

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madmoores 6 years, 1 month ago

Same prices in Craig and it is a 100 mile round trip with the same elevation change. Regular unleaded was $4.50 today at the downtown station. Here's the kicker, the Trevco Texaco BULK plant(you know bulk, supposed to be cheaper, like Sams club)is pushing $4.75 for the same regular unleaded. Can anyone explain this?

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ybul 6 years, 1 month ago

you are not paying any profit to a station, however, the cost of delivery to you might be more expensive than hauling it to a gas station as your bulk is not the same as a tanker trucks bulk.

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madmoores 6 years, 1 month ago

Uh, ok. Still don't get it. It's a bulk plant, the tanker truck hauls the fuel to the bulk plant, pumps it in and then you pump it out. A tanker truck hauls fuel to a gas station, pumps it in and then you pump it out, what is the difference? I have a card at the bulk plant and I pay cash at the station. If I am not paying a profit to the station, don't you think the bulk plant should be cheaper since they hold way more fuel than a station does? It is Monday, I am not blonde but it has been a rough weekend, what am I missing here?

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ThreeJobs 6 years, 1 month ago

It was $.30 less in Baggs, WY!!! Not exactly on the beaten path. Maybe some price fixin' in the 'boat?

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handyman 6 years, 1 month ago

The station picured above has to get it's fuel delivered in a small tanker truck because the local Conoco distributor hasn't delivered fuel in the big tankers in months. The small tanker loads cost more. In the past, Weston's was a few cents over Steamboat costs, but not as much as now.

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forreal 6 years, 1 month ago

i think we should just pay 1.50/gallon and tell them to shove it. if everyone did that for one day, they would have to do something about this. even though the war, which is over oil, is hurting this situation, there's still a lot of price gouging going on. that's what fellow americans do to each other when something big is going on. i say we all stand up together, lay 1.50/gallon on the table and walk out just for one day.

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ThreeJobs 6 years, 1 month ago

madmoores, can you explain the HALF DOLLAR difference between Silverthorne and Steamboat? State taxes are the same unlike WY. Certainly can't cost $.50 a gallon to haul here. Does this make any sense to anybody?

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BoatMaster 6 years, 1 month ago

ThreeJobs

The difference is that the dealer with the higher price is trying to stay in business.

If you don't go there he will be out of business shortly and you will complain that there is no place close to get fuel.

I agree that it is a crappy business, but it is reality.

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ThreeJobs 6 years, 1 month ago

Boatmaster,

So are you saying that all the stations in Silverthorne--and there were a LOT of them--the majority actually-- under $4 are going out of business? I think it reasonable to assume these stations are making a profit of some kind. I don't buy that it takes another 50 cents a gallon to "stay in business" here. Noticed today that several stations here are below the one pictured for this article. Were they just up for the weekend or did a 'leader" try to convince the others to spike to $4.49?

I have no objection to a business making a profit and charging whatever the traffic will allow however people will remember getting gouged and act accordingly when they have an opportunity to buy elsehere.

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ColoradoNative 6 years, 1 month ago

They they are ripping people off in Baggs. Fuel tax in Colorado is $o.4o.

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dave reynolds 6 years, 1 month ago

you want a true indicater go to the truck stop in Chyenne,WY..they have always same to have been the cheepet fuel.

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madmoores 6 years, 1 month ago

Maybe I should have said there is no fuel tax in Wyoming, however much it may be. Baggs is usually .10 to .35 cents cheaper than Craig, depending on the season. I used to drive up and fill the tank and several 5gallon cans on Saturdays. I'd only burn a couple or three gallons and actually save money. Today I would not be so sure about the "save money" part. Threejobs, I don't know why it is cheaper in Silverthorne. Maybe one station owner decided to sell for less and the others followed suit to stay in business. All I know is that my travel has been cut in half, vacations cancelled and I find myself on two wheels more than four.

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grannyrett 6 years, 1 month ago

I went through Baggs last Thursday, and it was more expensive than Craig.

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