Climbing Gas Prices, Changing Lifestyles


POSTED: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 5:25pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 1:14pm

EL PASO - El Paso and Las Cruces both average $3.69 per gallon of gasoline, and that's caused many of you to cut back on your lifestyle.

Rise V Auto & Tire sales manager Alvaro Ochoa says people are clambering for tune-ups.

"We've seen about a 40% increase in people coming in, checking out their vehicles, checking air pressure," Ochoa said.

Doing small, relatively inexpensive things like replacing your air filter, getting an oil change, and checking tire pressure can help your car get the best gas mileage possible.

"It'll last you depending on how much you ride your vehicle everyday," he added.

This auto shop isn't the only place seeing El Pasoans change their travel routine.

"We do see an increase in ridership," said Laura Cruz-Acosta, public affairs coordinator for Sun Metro.

Sun Metro has seen a lot more people climb on buses, even after a fare increase in January.

"This year we have about 100,000 more riders in the month of March," she said.

But we wanted to know - why are prices so high, anyway? So we went to UTEP economy professor Tom Fullerton. He says the global economy is improving, driving up the demand for fuel. And the turmoil in the Middle East is making things worse.

"When wars break out that invariably lowers the rate of production and reduces the supple of crude oil on the global market," Dr.Fullerton said.

Yet across the border, gas isn't nearly as high - so what gives? Dr. Fullerton says the Mexican government controls the price.

"Given some of the economic and social problems in Mexico at present the government has refrained from raising prices," he said.

So when do economists think we'll get some relief from gas prices?

"They are at or near their peaks right now," he added.

Experts are saying we may see prices decrease - or at least stabilize - by the middle of this year. But it could be as long as 2012 until we get any breaks.

Comments News Comments

Since I no longer am in the workforce I drive less. Staying home and reading books from the library saves a lot of gas.

I have spent less than $200. over the last year for gas. I ride the city bus when I can.. a bus stop is a block away.

Also, I keep all the fluids changed and car tuned.

My car is a midsize 17 year old and a V6. I recently went to Deming and back.. I got 35 MPG, 215 round trip divided by 6.08 gallons of gas.

No new car for me!

You're a smart man Singh. Those older GM V6s will go over 200k miles no problem.

Thanks. The car ('94 Pontiac Grand Am) has 238,000 miles on it. No mechanical problems!

The production rate has not been lowered at all in the middle East. Its the gas and oil speculators on Wall Street and the world market bumping the price of a barrel of oil. You will see the proof later this year when the profits begin to roll in on the Oil industry financial reports. Dr. Fullerton you are wrong because even with the turmoil in Libya there has been no disruption at the Suez Canal or the pipeline that runs adjacent to the canal.

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