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Publish Date: 3/25/2005

Psst, want cheap gas?


HYGIENE — Despite what the sign says, there’s no secret source of cheap gas in Hygiene.

The Country Corner gas station at 75th Street and Hygiene Road is advertising regular unleaded gas for $1.77 a gallon, and one of the pumps says the price is $1.32.

And so dozens of drivers a day keep trying to buy gas from the station, seeking relief from skyrocketing prices elsewhere.

There’s only one problem: Owner Joe Garguilo’s store has been closed off and on for most of the year and has remained closed for all of March. His tanks are pretty much empty, and his prices reflect what gas cost when he was open, not what they are today.

“We’ve got the cheapest gas in the state and nowhere to pay,” said Cliff Dunn of Hygiene.

But the three “closed” signs on the store windows weren’t enough to initially dissuade the driver of a tan Lexus SUV who pulled up to the pumps Thursday afternoon, probably hoping to pay $1.92 for a gallon of premium. After backing up to several pumps, the driver finally figured out the store was closed and pulled away.

“It’s like that all day long,” said Cindy Clark of Clark’s Food Store, across the street from the closed station. She said penny-pinching drivers sometimes even call her store to ask if Garguilo is open.

According to AAA, the average price for regular unleaded gas in the Boulder-Longmont area was $2.108 Thursday.

Debbie Foudray of Allenspark detoured through Hygiene on her way home from work in Longmont on Thursday in hopes of buying some cheap gas at the station. When she found it closed, she crossed the street to Clark’s to buy a few necessities.

“I always drive by and stop in there,” she said. But after seeing the absurdly low prices, “that’s what led me to believe they weren’t open.”

Sam Clark said some of Garguilo’s would-be customers get so angry they throw the gas hoses on the ground.

“The last time he opened up, we all rushed over and filled up,” Sam Clark said.

Reached at home Thursday evening, Garguilo said he was sad that people are unwittingly stopping by his store. He said that since his clerk quit a few months ago, he hasn’t had the time or inclination to stay open consistently.

“I just didn’t want to work 24/7 myself,” he said. “Hopefully I’m going to be back open shortly. And I’m going to have to change the prices.”

Trevor Hughes can be reached at 303-684-5220, or by e-mail at thughes@times-call.com.

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