Higher Gas Prices Affecting Gas Stations' Bottom Lines
Lynchburg, VA- If you're feeling pain at the pump, you're not alone. Gas prices have gone up for the 32nd day in a row according to AAA. In the Commonwealth, gas has soared 35 cents in the past 30 days.
Consumers and businesses alike are feeling the pain, even gas stations. You may think they see a profit no matter what, but sometimes they lose business because of the high prices. We spoke to Wilton Burgess, the owner of Quik-E food stores and gas stations. He says when prices go up, sales inside the store, go down.
"I think it hurts everybody's pocketbook," said Burgess.
When gas jumps 11 cents in one weekend, it has consumers dreading their daily drives, in fear of filling up.
"Man it's ridiculous, I don't even want to drive," said Ayesha Richardson, a gas station employee.
The average price for a gallon in Virginia is $3.61. Last month's average was $3.26. And the numbers just keep climbing.
"Pay is getting lower, and gas and everything is going higher, it's just crazy," said Richardson.
"We are up, you know, quite a bit from about a week ago. So, now you got to go up. That's all there is to it," said Burgess.
Every day, he says gas prices fluctuate.
"We see it every day. We get it before the public does."
On the days it only moves pennies, Burgess says his prices stay the same, either gaining or losing pennies on the gallon. But even pennies start to add up.
"It adds up pretty quick if you start losing money on gas because you sell so much of it," he said.
And he's not only losing money on gas. With tax hikes and wage dips, consumers have to rework their budgets to afford a full tank. That means cutting some of the non-necessities, like snacks, that happen to be Burgess's most profitable items.
"When a person has to spend, $10 or $12 or $15 more a week in gas, it hurts our inside sales in our stores because they take from that, and put it into the gas tank," said Burgess.
AAA says the most recent hikes in gas prices are due to several factors. Crude oil supplies are down after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, decided to lower production. Also, several refineries are shutting down for seasonal maintenance.