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Indicators: March 24

Fill 'Er Up

March 24, 2010, 12:00 am

4.3% is the average percent of their incomes New Mexicans spend on gas, according to a March 17 white paper by analyst firm David Gardiner & Associates.

87.9 cents is the rise in the price of gas per gallon since March 2009.

It’s before 8 am and freezing, but the Allsup’s station on N. Guadalupe Street is characteristically packed. At 5 pm most days, cars line up two deep, waiting to fill up with the cheapest gas in Santa Fe.

From inside the convenience store, manager Arturo Najarro watches the humming station.

“I sold 13,000 gallons yesterday,” Najarro says, his wiry body puffing with pride.

That’s 1,000 gallons more than usual—which suggests that a 10-cent increase over the past week doesn’t affect business.

“Not at all.” Najarro grins. “This station is No. 1 in Santa Fe.”

That’s one of the pros of selling an inelastic commodity: Even in Santa Fe, there are few enough bike commuters to keep Najarro comfortably in business.

But on March 19, national gas prices hit their highest point since the harrowing $4-a-gallon days of 2008—climbing 19 cents in the past month. And according to CBS, they’ll top $3 by the spring.

That spike is the impetus behind a March 17 white paper produced by David Gardiner & Associates for the National Resources Defense Council, which ranks New Mexico 16th most vulnerable to rising gas prices.

That calculation comes from the percent of annual income spent on gas—in New Mexico’s case, 4.3 percent or $1,437.33. If prices spiked back up to 2008 levels, New Mexicans would spend an average of nearly $2,500 gassing up their cars.

Santa Fe falls roughly in the middle of New Mexico’s gas prices—which are lowest in Las Cruces ($2.56) and strangely expensive in the oil hub of Deming ($2.99).

Here in town, Najarro’s gas is often the cheapest, according to handy websites like and that help drivers find the cheapest stuff around.

Then again, you could always just ride a bike.


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