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"NO GAS" SIGNS WERE A COMMON SIGHT IN OREGON DURING THE FALL OF 1973, SUCH AS AT THIS STATION IN LINCOLN CITY ALONG THE COAST. MANY STATIONS CLOSED EARLIER, OPENED LATER AND SHUT DOWN ON THE WEEKENDS. David Falconer, Photographer via Wikimedia Commons

‘Gas war’ wages between Fort Collins gas stations

As Colorado motorists enjoy the lowest gas prices in six years, as reported in the Denver Business Journal, two neighboring Fort Collins gas stations have spent the past couple weeks engaged in a fierce race for the lowest gas prices.

Though customers have reaped the savings from the competition, other businesses are on the brink of becoming casualties of the gas war.

According to a recent article in The Coloradoan, the feud between Western Convenience and its across-the-street competitor Diamond Shamrock a few days before Christmas, when prices dropped below $2 a gallon.

The two stations quickly offered the lowest gas prices in Fort Collins. The intersection separating the businesses soon flooded with traffic as customers queued for the low prices.

Though the gas stations service a hectic stream of customers, Michael Nelson, owner of Kool Rides auto detailing shop, said his business has suffered from the low prices.

“It’s caused a major nightmare for us for the last couple months,” Nelson said to Fort Collins news station 9NEWS. “During the peak rush hours like early in the morning and late in the day, we’ll have cars stacked up… we have people just trying to get in and out…. It’s just awful dangerous having cars cut in on the wrong side of Mulberry [street] to get in to get to the gas station.”

Despite Nelson’s frustrations, it’s unclear when the competition will die down.

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“When we go to match him, he goes four cents below,” Robert Zipperstein, district manager for Empire Petroleum (Diamond Shamrock) said in the Coloradoan article. “That’s what’s driving this, his wanting to be 4 cents below us for some reason. We’ve made the decision to go down to match, but at some point we have to decide enough is enough.

Last week, Western Convenience offered the lowest gas prices in Fort Collins, landing at $1.559 per gallon of unleaded compared to Diamond Shamrock’s $1.599 per gallon.

“Customers are loving it,” Western Convenience manager Christian Yepello said in the article. “People are very happy … we haven’t seen this since way back when.

Though Diamond Shamrock and Western Convenience face a degree of uncertainty with gas prices in the future, forecasts from AAA indicate prices will jump in spring, which is a busy driving season, boosting the prices to about $1.80 per gallon.

AAA reports the current average gas price in the state at $1.965, a steady drop from last week’s $2.084 and last month’s $2.605.

With a steep $1.35 decline from last year, Colorado ranks as one of the top 10 states for annual price slumps and is among 18 states with gas prices lower than $2, according to AAA.

“The dramatic slide in retail gas prices has been driven by a similar plummet in global crude oil prices since the end of the summer,” AAA told the Denver Business Journal. “This decline in the price of oil has been a product of weak demand combined with abundant supply. While lower gas prices are certainly a welcome relief for consumers, the broad impact of sustained low oil prices are front of mind for many industry stakeholders.”

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