“It’s getting pretty brutal,” William MacKenzie said.
But some feel it more than others.
“I’m unemployed right now,” Edward Salinas said. “(As a) matter of fact I’m putting in (to my tank) my last $20.”
Both were buying regular unleaded gasoline in Denver for $3.29 per gallon. That’s 51 cents higher than at the start of the year.
Blame the price spike on turmoil in the Middle East and the fear of a domino effect, according to Bryant Gimlin with Devo Capital Management.
“If problems in Libya escalate and spread into other countries (like) Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, it could have a major effect on the global market,” Gimlin said.
Gimlin has a home office in Greeley. He’s been trading energy futures for 25 years and says rising crude oil prices will continue to push up gas prices in Colorado.
“Probably what happens is the gasoline prices peak around the $4 mark somewhere,” he said.
Gimlin sees the Denver area hitting the $4 mark around the Memorial Day weekend. The last time Denver saw $4 gas was in 2008, but it was later that year on July 17.
So, how long will prices stay so high?
“If things do settle down in the Middle East, this market will consider itself overpriced and it will come back down in relatively quick fashion,” Gimlin said.
But relief from pain at the pump can’t come soon enough for drivers like Nnamdi Ngwe. Climbing out of an economy car, he joined the other customers at the Conoco station at Alameda and Broadway and was full of questions about the high prices.
“Jeez, how often does it go up? Who’s in charge? Because I’ve got to talk to them and tell them to quit it,” Ngwe said.