President of the Colorado Petroleum Association;
Suncor Energy USA;
Executive Director, Community Office for Resource Efficiency
Tim Theis ,
Silverthorne Resident and Small Business Owner;
Colorado State Representative for Eagle, Lake, and Summit Counties.
Howard Hallman who
moderated the panel made the introductions and started off
discussion by asking Mr. Dempsey, “Why are gas prices in Summit
County so much higher than those in Denver?” Dempsey answered that
he did not know the answer to the question, but gas prices like most
commodities were determined by free market factors and supply and
demand. Factors could include the cost of transportation, higher
costs of real estate and labor in the mountains and the increased
demand from tourists willing to pay higher transportation prices
while on vacation.
Next up was Gary
Lindstrom who agreed that free market forces and competition were
the best way to insure fair pricing, but in reality something else
was happening in Summit County. “When gas prices went to $3.00 a
gallon in Denver they rose to $3.00 in Summit County, but when
prices dropped to just over $2.00 in Denver why did they remain
close to $3.00 in Summit County?” Traditionally gas prices are
around 10 cents a gallon more in the county, so why are they more
than 40 cents higher now. Lindstrom has been asking these questions
for several weeks with out adequate answers. He sees a consistency
of prices around the county posted on the signs but has no reason
why the prices are substantially more than in Denver.
Mr. Creamer, Manager
of Stakeholder and Legislative Affairs at Suncor Energy U.S.A, did
not have answers either, since he is not involved in marketing and
sales. But he did provide some insight about the way gas is
distributed from the refinery to local corporate and independent
owners. He also talked about where gas is being developed for use in
our state and elsewhere and what Suncor is doing to increase supply.
The next panelist
was Randy Udall, who complimented Representative Lindstrom on his
efforts to save Summit County families from having to pay excessive
amounts for gasoline. His recent efforts may have helped to reduce
the prices. He did point out that while $3.00 a gallon seems to be
high, gasoline prices worldwide are significantly higher.. At the
same time as China’s and India’s economies expand, worldwide oil
production is leveling off. We need to be preparing for much higher
energy costs and our leaders in government are not doing their job.
Tim Theis had an
answer for higher prices, gas stations were charging higher prices
because they could. He suggested that an organized boycott of local
citizens could convince one station to lower its prices, and others
would then follow suite.
Members of the
audience were active through out the discussion, asking questions,
providing background information, comparing pricing for other
mountain communities and expressing their frustration with local
gasoline pricing. Some members of the audience where local retailers
who explained that th
helped residents understand the complexity of the issues, and vent
their frustrations, though no one had the answer or resolution to
the question of the night.