Gas prices in Denver up, amount of money in your bank account down

It may be overcast and rainy in Denver today, but there's at least one sure sign of summer on view: Gas prices are climbing like Clint Eastwood in The Eiger Sanction. According to the American Automobile Association, the price of unleaded has risen 38 cents per gallon in a month, to an average of $2.39. It's still possible to find lower prices: At this writing, the bargain roster at DenverGasPrices.com is topped by a Costco in Aurora, where a gallon goes for $2.25, followed by a Gas 4 Less in Wheat Ridge, at $2.26. The best bargain in Denver proper as of Sunday: a Diamond Shamrock at 4498 Sheridan Boulevard, with $2.29. But these differentials only pay off for folks relatively near the stations in question.

Why is this happening? Experts typically trot out excuses about supply and demand, switching from winter to summer blends, etc. But there's another reason why oil industry representatives boosts prices at this time every year: because they can.

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