Regular unleaded hits $3.63 | AspenTimes.com

Regular unleaded hits $3.63

Chad Abraham

Among the many nasty side effects of high gas prices – which climbed to $3.63 a gallon for regular unleaded at one local station over the weekend – add this one: fewer ski trips.A Denver man filling up his Volvo station wagon at The Aspen Store on Monday said that if prices don’t come down, he would not travel from the Front Range for day trips in the winter as often.”I may not ski quite as much,” said Neal, who didn’t want his last name printed. He was buying midgrade gas at $3.70 a gallon.Kotaru was also filling up at the station. That’s his last name; unlike Neal, he didn’t want his first name used.”It’s high, but it’s not unexpected [with] the hurricane, the war,” said Kotaru, also from Denver. “I know I drive a gas guzzler, but I expect to pay a lot for it.”He was fueling his Acura SUV. Asked whether his driving habits would change if gas prices continue to climb, he said, “Probably. Probably take my bike more often.”At the Aspen Airport Amoco Sunday, regular unleaded was $3.63 and premium was $3.84, according to an employee who answered the phone. She didn’t want her first or last name used. High grade is $3.84.Sonia Vallejo, cashier at the Amoco station on Monarch and Main, where regular unleaded was $3.59 a gallon, said people have accepted the price increases. They know it’s because of the hurricane, she said.The U.S. oil refinery system Monday was struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina, according to The Associated Press. Two storm-shuttered facilities restarted, and flows of crude oil improved enough to allow refineries in the Gulf Coast and Midwest to ramp up production. But four damaged Gulf Coast refiners look likely to remain shut for weeks or even months, taking with them more than 5 percent of U.S. capacity, the AP reported.Steve Gerdes of Dallas was filling up his rental Monte Carlo at the Amoco on Main Street. In Texas, gas remains around $2.80, he said, but things “always seem to be a little more expensive up here.”We’re on a vacation so … we have no other choice,” Gerdes said. He remained optimistic, however. “It’ll go back down. It’s just a matter of time.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com