Experts say gas prices will continue to rise in Colorado until the spring

Price hikes are typical, but not this early

DENVER - Gas prices in metro Denver have spiked by approximately 70 cents since the beginning of 2013. Experts with AAA say another jump is certain when Colorado service stations switch from a winter blend to a summer blend later this year.

"It's been going up almost a penny a day," said Wave Dreher, spokeswoman for AAA Colorado.

Dreher said refineries are doing maintenance and OPEC is producing less.  Yet the economy seems stronger -- prompting more people to drive.
      
"Usually we see our peak price for the year used to be in May.  Then last year it was April 17.  It seem like it's getting earlier and earlier every year," said Dreher.

Come March or April, another jump will occur.  That's when the refineries phase in their summer blends.  That move means another 10-cent jump for Colorado drivers.

"AAA is still projecting, overall, gas prices are going to be lower for 2013 than they were in 2012.  So it could be possible we're seeing this peak earlier and prices will stabilize as we get closer to the summer driving season," said Dreher.

Prices should remain stable providing there isn't a natural disaster like a hurricane,  said Dreher.  Four dollar a gallon gasoline is not in the projections.
 
That's a relief for Jared Wiklund, who drives a full-sized pickup truck.

"It keeps going up.  It doesn't level off and I cry at the pump a little bit," said Wiklund. "I may even get a more fuel efficient vehicle."

"Right around Christmas time, I got gas at $2.70 something.  Now it's $3.35," said driver David Tenner.