Travelers to Tucumcari are paying higher prices at local gas stations, and with the possibility that prices will go even higher, some travelers said they will change their summer plans.
According to Virginia Wright of the Chamber of Commerce, Tucumcari is a “tourist market”, and the high gasoline prices could hurt Tucumcari’s tourism this summer. “Right now I don’t see any end in sight as to how long the prices will remain high,” said Wright. “Local businesses are concerned. Fortunately, I believe that people who have already planned to attend the Mother Road Rally and the Route 66 Celebration will still attend those events no matter what the gas prices will be.”
A gallon of regular gasoline cost $1.89 Monday at Allsup’s on South First Street. Julian Gonzales, of Clovis, purchased gasoline at Allsup’s Monday and said he might have to trade in his Ford Truck. “I operate a mobile auto glass business,” said Gonzales. “Not only do I have to charge my customers a little more because I have to pay more for gas, I am also planning to trade my Ford truck in for a Nissan or a Toyota so I can get better gas mileage.” Larry Bond, owner of Travelers One Stop on West Tucumcari Boulevard, said that he has only heard one person complain about the prices so far. “The man who delivers the USA Today said he might have to look for another job because he has to drive 140 miles round trip everyday, and the gasoline is costing him too much.”
Bond said the usual number of customers are continuing to buy normal amounts of gasoline. “Everybody seems to be resigned to the high prices,” said Bond. “I don’t know at what point people will forego their travel plans.” Jenny Love Meyer, public affairs representative for Love’s Travel Stops, said owners of gas stations and truck stops do not like high prices for gasoline.
“We make less than 10 percent profit off a gallon of gas,” said Meyer. “We don’t like it when prices are high because we actually make less money when prices are high.”
Meyer said that it is her understanding that oil traders are anxious. “I think the Iraq situation is making oil traders anxious ,” said Meyer. “They are not sure how the oil situation will turn out.” Meyer said anxiety on the part of traders coupled with more expensive, less polluting summer blends of gasoline are responsible for the rising prices. “Plus demand goes up in summer,” said Meyer. “Demand is up and less oil is coming out of Iraq at the same time.”
Some travelers believe that something more is afoot than uncertainties among traders and the normal play of supply and demand. Paul Mitchell, traveling from Florida to his home in California, bought gasoline at Love’s Travel Stop Monday. He said that he believes oil companies employ shady tactics to drive up prices. “Sometimes an oil company will shut down a refinery for repairs in order to limit the supply of oil,” said Mitchell. “I blame the oil companies and politics for the high prices.” Mitchell and his wife usually travel long distances each summer. “We were going to go to Canada this year,” said Mitchell, “but the gas prices are way too high.”