Gaston County businesses and commuters discuss working with gas surges

Tasha Carpenter’s 20-mile commute from her home in Lincolnton to her job, Cherub’s Café in Belmont, was tedious but doable.

High gasoline prices are now hitting her harder in the wallet.

“I used to spend about $50 a week because I had a big vehicle, with a bigger tank. Now I spend almost $80 a week getting to and from work,” the 36-year-old carpenter said. .

Since 2008, gasoline prices have not exceeded $4 per gallon. Russia’s war with Ukraine has not contributed to rising costs.

“Sanctions and regulations against Russia have limited its ability to sell its oil on the global market, which has intensified global supply issues in what was already a tight market due to the pandemic.”

“Unfortunately, this is not the end of seeing prices rise at the pumps,” AAA spokeswoman Tiffany Wright said in a statement.

High gasoline prices also penalize businesses that depend on transportation.

Hinder business

Gastonia’s Tipsy Ryde taxi service has taken a hit for its customers with rising gas prices.

Many of the company’s part-time drivers have quit, said Lisa Marie Sherman, who has run the taxi service since 2017. The company has seven cars driven by full-time and part-time employees, in addition to some who drive their own car, she says.

“We’ve gone from a few hundred calls a day to about 40. People are staying home, they want to save as much as they can because gas has gone up, other things have gone up as well,” said Sherman.

Lisa Marie Sherman and Zoey talk as they make sure their 'Tipsy Ryde' vehicles have full tanks at 7-Eleven on East Garrison Boulevard early Saturday morning March 12, 2022.

“Not only do we have to worry about filling up our taxis, but also about the slowness of our business,” Sherman said.

Sherman raised its fares to compensate for rising gas prices.

“We only increased our rates by $1. We could increase it more, but we understand that our customers are also struggling, so increasing it more won’t solve anything,” Sherman said.

Some companies offering delivery services had to introduce a fee due to the gas crisis.

“We didn’t have delivery charges before for our large orders, now we have to,” said Jimmy Chapman, owner of Belmont’s Twisted Sugar.

Implementing delivery charges for large orders — around $25 to $30 — has helped Chapman weather the escalation as the cost of materials and products delivered to him each week has risen.

Rising gas prices have affected his profits as he may soon have to offer his managers a fuel allowance.

“Most of my regular employees are high schoolers, so they don’t feel the same effect as managers. Some of my managers have to commute here from Charlotte,” Chapman said.

“We’re hanging in there. The situation has taken a toll on everyone, but we’re slowly working through the spike in gas prices that’s affecting many small businesses,” Chapman said.

How to save your gas

AAA Carolinas offers the following tips on how to save fuel:

  • Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible if the check engine light comes on. This indicates a problem that is causing excessive emissions and likely reducing fuel economy.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy.
  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes a significant drop in fuel economy when speed exceeds 80 km/h.
  • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions significantly increase fuel consumption.
  • Avoid prolonged idling to warm up the engine. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less of an effect on fuel economy than the engine power needed to run the air conditioning compressor.
  • Plan ahead to complete multiple errands in a single trip and, whenever possible, travel outside of peak traffic hours of the day.

Beatriz Guerrero can be reached at 704-869-1828 or on Twitter @BeatrizGue_.

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