COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Average retail gasoline prices have risen about 20 cents in Colorado Springs in the past week to $3.00 per gallon for regular unleaded gas.
Dr. Fred Crowley, Senior Economist at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that the recent snowstorms on the East Coast have increased the national demand for gasoline, driving prices higher across the country.
"Demand is actually rising. Anytime inventory supplies drop and demand increases, we also see the demand increase," Crowley said.
Crowley said the wholesale price for a barrel of gasoline has increased about 10 percent in the last month, which means a 20 to 30 cent increase for consumers.
Some gas stations in Colorado Springs have independently raised prices even higher. Regular gas cost $3.39 at the Conoco station at Garden of the Gods Road and Northpark Drive on Saturday -- nearly 40 cents above the city's average. Most of the stations in that area followed the same trend.
Crowley said stations that charge more may do so because of franchise decisions or to compete with the prices of nearby stations.
"That's a store by store decision," Crowley said. "Obviously, some stores will try to get a few cents more per gallon and others will try to make it up in volume with a little less."
For many people in Colorado Springs, it means shopping around for the best price.
"I hunt for the lowest price now, which I usually wouldn't do," said Colorado Springs resident Mitch Starkey. "I used to go to Shell all the time, now it's looking for the right price before I go somewhere."
Another Springs resident, Justin Steeves, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that he always looks around for the lowest gas prices.
"We work hard and with gas going up it makes our business less and less and our business costs are more and more," Steeves said.
Though prices are higher in Colorado Springs this week, Crowley said the retail price is still low compared to the national average of $3.47 a gallon.
"Some of that has to do with the proximity to fuel, gasoline distribution and productions," Crowley said. "Some of the North Dakota activities, some of the refining capabilities in Wyoming and in Denver help us out."
Crowley also said prices will continue to rise this year, but will probably stay in the same range as last year. Allowing for inflation, that means gasoline is expected to be a little cheaper.
"Everything is pointing towards good things in the economy. It's not going to be booming, but it is growing and that increases the price of gasoline," Crowley said.
To find the lowest gas prices in Colorado Springs, visit KRDO.com's Gas Tracker.