(SUN PHOTO/ William Thompson) Brian Payne fills up Friday at the Chevron on South First Street. Payne was on his way back home to Manitoba, Canada. He said gas prices were as high there as in New Mexico.
Larry Bond, owner of Traveler’s One Stop on West Route 66, said customers coming in to buy gasoline are making comments about the high price of gas but are not ready to give up driving just yet.
“More people have been making comments or asking me how high the price is going to be,” Bond said. “I tell them that what I hear is that by mid-summer we’ll be at $2.50 per gallon for regular. I hear that from television news and the distributors.”
Bond was selling a gallon of regular for $2.21 on Friday.
Brenda Yeager, public affairs officer for the American Automobile Association in New Mexico, said all indications point to continued high gas prices throughout New Mexico.
“It looks like prices will stay where they are for at least several weeks as oil companies are switching to more environment-friendly summer blends of gasoline,” Yeager said. “Demand usually grows at this time of year as well.”
Friday’s prices in Tucumcari ranged from $2.19 to $2.29 per gallon for regular. Those are record prices for Tucumcari.
Yeager said the New Mexico average of $2.18 on Thursday was a record high.
The cost of crude oil has also impacted the cost of gasoline. Crude oil prices have reached $54 per gallon compared to $37 per gallon this time last year, Yeager said.
“Our gasoline inventories are in better shape this year,” Yeager said, “but industry analysts say the uncertainty in the world market over oil prices is driving the price of gasoline up.”
Yeager said it’s possible to see gasoline at $2.35 per gallon by the end of May judging by normal trends this time of year
“We conducted a survey recently in which 42 percent of New Mexicans said they have already made changes like starting to carpool, using mass transportation or buying a more economical car,” Yeager said. “We’ve found that about 16 percent of the rest of the sample would begin making serious changes if gasoline went up to $3 per gallon.”
John and Carol Graff, a retired couple, stopped at Friday at Traveler’s One Stop on their journey back home to Minnesota.
“It cost us $200 for gas for our trip this year compared to $160 last year,” John Graff said. “It’s no big deal to us because we are retired, but I feel badly for the people who make $20,000 or less a year and then have to commute to work.”