At more than $70 a barrel, the price of oil is reaching record highs and lawmakers are starting to feel the pressure from consumers, who are struggling at the pump.
Colorado lawmakers recently rejected an initiative to suspend the state's 22–cent gas tax temporarily, with the price of gas rapidly getting higher, there are a couple new measures being looked at in Denver. Along with urging car–pooling and the use of mass transit, lawmakers are looking at requiring more crop–based fuels to be sold in Colorado. A bill currently in the state senate would, if passed, require that 75 percent of gasoline in Colorado contain 10 percent ethanol, which is a fuel derivative of corn. The bill was backed in the senate on Monday, however, opponents say it could potentially cause fuel shortages. On the other side, supporters say it would offer drivers a better opportunity to use the fuel of the future which consists of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
Currently there are just four gas stations in Colorado that offer the fuel, however, ethanol prices are averaging around $2, compared to an average of nearly $2.70. Lawmakers are also looking at removing the state's minimum markup requirement. Colorado is one of 14 states nationwide which requires gasoline retailers to mark up prices past wholesale prices to ensure a profit.
In Washington, lawmakers are also debating, with many lashing out at President Bush, demanding investigations into possible price fixing and gouging. While long–term solutions are in the works, for the short-term, consumers can plan on continuing to shell out at the pumps.
AAA reports the current price for regular unleaded in Grand Junction is $2.70 a gallon.