Less Gas, More Cash …

Posted on December 8, 2014 by Tom Halligan - Also by this author

Low gas prices are expected to continue through 2015
Low gas prices are expected to continue through 2015

If anything, 2014 has been a mixed bag for the limousine industry.Yes, the economy has been on the rebound and business is up, coupled with a gallon of gas now nationally averaging under three bucks, saving operators serious cash and increasing bottom lines.

Back in June, the New York Post screamed on its front page (they do shock headlines better than anyone) that we were heading for $5 a gallon in the summer due to any number of Middle East crises of the week. The Post once ran a classic headline back in the 1980s. “Headless Body in Topless Bar.” Now that’s scary—but clever. The prediction of five bucks a gallon was, thankfully, just media doomsday speculation, but nobody predicted that petroleum prices would drop more than 25% and 35% from the summer peak.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts the U.S. average for a gallon of gas in 2015 will be $3.38 per gallon. Good news for operators who can look forward to continued savings. But as we know from history, any catastrophic natural, economic, political, or man-made event such as war, can cause a barrel of crude to skyrocket at the drop of a dime.

In New Jersey, we travel the highways cheaper than other neighboring states. Currently, a gallon of regular costs $2.33 at WaWa. Across the river In Philadelphia, a gallon at WaWa costs $2.58. It is no wonder that I always see Brotherly Love drivers lined up at New Jersey stations to fill up—and get this, not only is gas some 25 cents cheaper, but gas attendants pump your gas as opposed to Pennsylvania’s self-service stations. What a deal.   Further north, a gallon costs 2.85 in Manhattan and 2.76 in Boston.

According to Gasbuddy.com, Missouri boasts the nation’s lowest per gallon price at $2.35, and St. Louis wins top city honors coming in at $2.34 per gallon, and even lower according to local operstors.

“It’s been great. I found gas today (Dec. 8) at $2.19 a gallon,” said Jeff Ellefson, general manager, of St. Louis-based, A Absolute Perfect Touch Limousine. “We’re always below the national average and about $1 lower than this time last year.” Compared to last year, Ellefson said the company is saving about $2,000 per month in gas.

“The state always has lower gas prices across the board and I believe it has a lot to do with our low sales tax,” said Debbie Rudawsky, co-owner, Best Transportation of St. Louis. “With gas being one of our largest expenses, it certainly helps the bottom line with prices dip,” she said. However, Rudawsky noted that the company is still diligent about fule costs. “We still tell our chauffeurs to be mindful about saving fuel because you never know when there could be a spike again, so we want them to maintain that cost-conscious behavior at all times,” she added.

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