High gas prices have business owners, consumers pinching pennies

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

For most people, when the gas gauge starts to lean towards 'E,' you know you're about to shell out a substantial amount of money for fuel. But the effects of fuel costs don't stop with just your car.

A cup of Starbucks coffee costs about the same amount as a gallon of gas. But as fuel prices continue to climb, people are pinching pennies in more places than just at the pump.

Cheese is the main ingredient for most good Tex-Mex, but it's not cheap.

"It's an astronomical amount in a short period of time."

Salitas Mexican Restuarant owner Mark Rawlings says the easy melt cheese ran about $33 for years, and then climbed to $40. Today, the Durant restaurant owner pays $93 for an industrial container of their Mexican food mainstay.

"They say it was milks gone up, and they say that's because corn's gone up, and fertilizer's gone up. It all trickles down. And it all comes back to fuel prices."

It’s basic cause and effect. The ingredients from these enchiladas come mostly by truck trucks use diesel fuel. Prices for diesel hover near four dollars a gallon, and someone has to pay for it.

"We have to pass the cost onto the business; the retailer's got to pass it onto to retail the product."

Consumers then feel the pinch, choosing their purchases wisely.

"Sometimes we go to the grocery store there's things you'll pass up or buy a lesser brand of because your money is going toward gas."

For Rawlings, he says it's a balancing act when wholesale prices get higher.

"We're trying to do the best we can to try and keep up with the cost of everything and still keep our prices where people can afford it."

Some say the trouble spots in our economy like the housing market, credit crisis, and job loss can be traced back to gas prices but now it's up to Washington to decide the next step.

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