SALEM, N.H. — Rising fuel prices may add up to paying a couple of extra dollars to fill up the family sedan or van, but imagine paying $500 to fill your tank. That’s the case for Tom Brazil, owner of TNT Towing and Recovering in Salem, N.H. Every three days, the drivers of his big trucks make a $500 visit to the Citgo station. Even for his smaller tow trucks, fill-ups cost $100 a day.
Gas prices are hovering around the $3-per-gallon mark, fueling the fire of hard times for businesses that rely on gas to carry out their operations. Many are implementing fuel surcharges, while others are hesitant that a price increase would turn customers away.
Linahan Limousine in Salem, N.H., has added a small fuel surcharge to its fares, just as owners Eric and Wendy Schoneberger did during gas spikes when Hurricane Katrina hit. That way, customers will pay gratuities based on the standard fare, but losses can be compensated while gas prices are high.
“We figure we are used to paying the usual amount,” Wendy Schoneberger said. “From Windham to Logan, it usually takes about $17, but right now we charge a $2 to $3 surcharge.” If prices go above $3 a gallon, she said, they may increase the surcharge by another dollar. Currently, the average price of gas in Salem is about $3.01, according to AAA.
But there’s an upside to gas prices for some. Linahan Limousine is actually benefiting from the high cost of gas. Not only was the last year busy, but April was off the charts. “People are realizing it’s more economical to hire a limousine,” Schoneberger said.
The white board in their office often has notes from drivers on it, sharing where the best deal on gas is that particular day. Drivers are responsible for filling up on company credit cards, and they are always keeping an eye out for the lowest price, Schoneberger said. When — and if — prices drop, the company will do away with the fuel surcharge.
Source: The Eagle-Tribune