Falling gas prices

Average prices per gallon of unleaded gas as of Dec. 26:

Boulder: $2.99

Longmont: $2.98

Broomfield: $2.98

Colorado: $3.07

Nationwide: $3.25

Source: Oil Price Information Service

The cold weather may mean drivers are slipping and sliding all over the roads, but, at least in Boulder County, they're spending less on gas while they're doing so.

For the first time in nearly a year, average gas prices in Boulder County dipped below $3 a gallon for unleaded fuel this week, bringing some much-appreciated savings to drivers looking to save some money on their commute.

The average price of unleaded gas in Boulder was $2.99 as of Wednesday, according to the Oil Price Information Service, with prices as low as $2.89 around town. Average prices for unleaded were a penny lower in Longmont and Broomfield.

As she filled up her Subaru at a Shell station at 55th Street and Arapahoe Avenue on Thursday, Janice Owens said that when she saw the price of gas was $2.99 at the station she stopped to fill up her tank.

"I saw another one that was a little cheaper, but I was on Arapahoe and at least it was under $3," said Owens, who was on her way back to Lafayette.

Owens said she keeps a close eye on gas prices during her daily commute, and the price at the pump normally determines how much she fills up on any given visit.

"I keep a close watch and know which way it's heading," she said. "You pay attention so if it's higher you maybe don't fill up the tank or just fill up a certain dollar amount."

Jim Bishop, the manager of the ShortStop convenience store associated with the Shell station, said when gas prices dip below $3 a gallon for unleaded, the station tends to see an influx of customers.

"I can see our volume went up," Bishop said as he was filling up his own Jeep. "Part of it is that the gas is cheaper so people fill up more, but it's also more people coming in."

John Ruge, at left, fills his gas tank Thursday at Boulder Gas on Baseline Road in Boulder. The station was selling unleaded gas for $2.89 a gallon
John Ruge, at left, fills his gas tank Thursday at Boulder Gas on Baseline Road in Boulder. The station was selling unleaded gas for $2.89 a gallon Thursday, 10 cents below Boulder s average price. ( JEREMY PAPASSO )

The last time the average price for a gallon of gas in Boulder dropped below $3 was on Feb. 1, when the average price for unleaded was $2.98, according to the Oil Price Information Service. Gas prices in Longmont and Broomfield also dropped below $3 a gallon to $2.98 a gallon on Feb. 8.

Gas in Boulder County is also cheaper than the statewide average of $3.07 and far below the national average of $3.25.

"And I hope they keep going down," Bishop said of the prices.

Boulder resident Mark Hemmeter said a drop in gas prices doesn't necessarily change in his driving habits as much as rising gas prices. He does appreciate the savings, though he added there were some other members of his family who were even more grateful to see a big "2" on the gas sign.

"My kids have to pay for their own gas," he said with a laugh. "So for them this is huge."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or byarsm@dailycamera.com.