Skyrocketing price of gasoline, food forcing changes for consumers, businesses

Skyrocketing price of gasoline, food forcing changes for consumers, businesses

By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter

By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter Union City Glass has added a $5 energy surcharge to each of its service calls. This is news? Well, yes. Think of it as a microcosmic reflection of the overall big picture as John Q. Public struggles to adjust to obscene pump prices of fossil fuels. In today’s modern and mobile society, the need for fossil fuels is the common denominator. And he who controls price wields power, great power. You may say, “It doesn’t affect me. I don’t drive, don’t own a car.” Oh, but it does affect you. Walk or ride or skateboard to the nearest grocery store. The late increase in food prices is caused by increased transportation costs, in part. This is a monster from which there is no escape. Its tentacles reach out and touch, sear and shock every American, from the New York cabbie to the West Texas rancher and the West Tennessee school teacher. We who buy $4 per gallon gasoline and $5 per gallon diesel — and that’s all of us — are frustrated. “But what choice do you have but to buy it?” said Al Childrey of Union City. “Yes, I’m doing something different. I do the things I normally do, but pay more money.” Interviews The Messenger conducted a man-in-the-street interview about this volatile issue. The basic question posed at random was, “What adjustments have you made in trying to cope with these higher gas and diesel prices?” Truman Johnson, owner of Union City Glass, said he’s bunching service calls and no longer dispatches his seven trucks to single calls. He said it’s unfortunate to have to add on the $5 energy service fee, but it was necessary because of increased fuel expenses. Other consumers polled and their responses include: • Charles Ashley of Troy. “Yeah, it’s made me adjust,” Ashley said. “I traded in a Ford Super Crew truck for a 2008 Ford Taurus. Now I get 25 miles a gallon on the highway and 22 in town. And we’ve definitely cut back on trips. I just can’t afford to go as much as we used to. The people I feel sorry for are the low income people who drive 20 or 30 miles to work. It’s eating them up in gas alone.” • Janice Pigg of Union City. “We don’t go out of town unless it’s necessary,” Ms. Pigg said. “If we get a chance to get away for a while, we go fishing — not even to Reelfoot Lake but somewhere closer to home. It makes you stop and think.” • Robert Gaines of Ruston, La. Gaines is a truck driver for Davison Transport of Ruston. He was in Union City Monday afternoon en route to Ohio. “Personally, I’ve cut back on driving,” he said. “I had to cut back on my fishing trips.” • Bill Tanner of Union City. “I remember when gas was 17 cents a gallon,” said the much-decorated World War II veteran. He took a receipt from his shirt pocket, glanced at it and shook his head. He had just spent $53.93 for 13.5 gallons of gas. “And the tank wasn’t empty, either,” he said. “I was listening to a guy on TV this morning. He said that in two or three years, we’ll be paying $12 to $13 a gallon for gas and crude oil will be trading at $200 a barrel. “The problem is that the demand for crude oil exceeds the supply. There’s plenty of oil in the ground right here at home but the environmentalists won’t let us drill for it. But Cuba makes a deal with the Chinese and the Chinese are drilling for oil within 60 miles of the Florida coast.” • Bobby Hall of Troy. Hall owns Hall’s Automotive and has two trucks and a wrecker in his business. “I’ve cut back,” he said. “But I still have to go to work, drive to town, do what I have to do to make a living. It cuts into your profits, that’s for sure. What little money you might have stashed away is soon gone — gone for gas, that is. I’ve noticed that even the electric bill has a gas surcharge now. So this thing is hitting everybody.” • Jennifer Donahue of Jonesboro, Ark. Ms. Donahue and her husband are in the process of moving to Lexington, Ky. Monday afternoon, she stopped in Union City to buy gas. “It’s made me change my ways,” she said. “No more running around. Get everything done when you go to town. Make it all in one trip. I just spent $30 for gas and that was nowhere near a fill-up.” • Shawn Sours of Bradenton, Fla. Sours is an electrician who is helping build the new ethanol plant under construction near Obion. He and his fiance, Dawn, have been in this area three months. He expects to be here until December, when construction is finished. He drives a 2006 Honda motorcycle to and from work; Dawn drives their car, a Dodge Dakota, which Sours says is “a gas guzzler.” “I’ve been riding the bike since prices went so high,” he said. “I put in two gallons at a time; two gallons will get me 90 miles. I figure I save $50 a week by driving the bike. “Dawn drives the Dakota, but she has cut back, too. We don’t do any sightseeing like we used to. She and I and our dog, Sheeba, have been in 13 states the last six years, and we’ve always gone sightseeing every time we move to a new job. But not now, not with prices the way they are. “The only sightseeing trip we’ve been on was to Reelfoot Lake.” By the way, Sours added, he likes it here. He says the people are friendly and nice to strangers and even when the job here is finished, he and Dawn will be back for a visit. Published in The Messenger 6.3/08

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