Letter: The Aspen gasoline gouge, an update
December 7, 2015
Gasoline prices in the upper Roaring Fork Valley are higher than they were when the large oil companies (BP, Conoco, Shell) managed distribution. In other areas such as Vail, prices are lower. For example, the price at the Shell station in Vail off Interstate 70 is $2.44 per gallon, while it is $3.39 per gallon at the Aspen Business Center.
Historical price differences are measured relative to the Sinclair station in Glenwood, which is charging $2.07 per gallon. Based on the Glenwood Sinclair price, the price in Aspen should be $2.30, close to the price in Vail, not $3.39. I call the difference the Aspen gouge. Prices are also high in Basalt and El Jebel. The excess prices robs those living in the valley. Local businesses, especially restaurants, suffer because residents forced to pay the gouge have less to spend on other things.
Here are updated numbers for Aspen, Basalt and Willits. All calculations are based on the historical relationship between the price of gasoline at the Sinclair station in Glenwood Springs. Costs per family of four assume that the family purchases all of its gasoline in the particular community.
The Aspen gouge is $1.09 per gallon. A family of four that bought all its gasoline in Aspen would be paying $65 more for its gasoline this week than it would have under the historical relationship.
The Basalt gouge is 58 cents per gallon. A family of four that bought all its gasoline in Basalt would be paying $36 this week more than it would have when the historical relationships prevailed.
The Willits gouge is 44 cents per gallon. A family of four buying all its gasoline in Carbondale would be paying $28 more for gasoline this week than it would have paid under the historical relationship.
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The obvious solution is to buy your gasoline in Glenwood Springs!