Businesses Adjust to Rising Fuel Costs

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No one will probably be getting a break from the pump any time soon. Businesses are feeling the effects as gas prices continue to guzzle their wallets.

Rick Bell of Saxon's Flowers and Gifts says the shop delivers 19,000 and 20,000 times a year with an average eight miles per delivery.

"We burn between 6,000 to 7,000 gallons of gas a year in delivery vehicles alone," said Rick Bell of Saxon's.

AAA said in Mississippi last March gas cost about $1.63 a gallon, but the price is much higher now. Some stations are as high as $1.99 a gallon for regular unleaded.

"We're doing a lot of target deliveries and grouping things. Instead of having just one delivery at a time, we take several. We have been doing things differently and thinking outside of the box," Bell said.

Forecasters say prices will probably jump another 15 cents this spring and stay well above $2.00 a gallon through the summer season.

Higher gas prices have also hit other local businesses like the Meridian Cab Company. Fred Brown, who has been a driver for almost 20 years, says for the first time in 10 years there has been an increase in fares.

"When you get in, it is 50 cents more, then a nickel on each tenth of a mile. Any time you are buying gas every day it affects you a lot," said Brown. "So far we have been able to do some things to keep cost down, but eventually we will have to raise cost if the price rises."