Louisville businesses raise prices, add fees to cover rising gas costs
Gas prices are soaring across the country, and Louisvillians are feeling the pressure.
Regular unleaded gasoline was about $4.98 a gallon in Jefferson County on Thursday, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). That was around one cent higher than the national average.
The average price in Kentucky was $4.79 a gallon. It stood at about $4 a month ago.
Nationwide, gas prices have outpaced inflation. In April 2021, Americans paid an average of $2.84 a gallon for regular gas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Twelve months later, that amount of money was worth about $3.07 due to inflation. But the average cost of gas was much greater: $4.28.
While this month’s higher costs have made commutes and errands more expensive for many, they’ve also shaped how some businesses are operating.
Sam Bracken, who owns a Louisville food truck called The Celtic Pig, said he raised prices to cover the costs of fueling his vehicle and generator.
“This is our eighth year in business, and we haven’t raised prices during that whole time until now. And we had no choice, between fuel prices, food prices, labor costs, paper product costs, everything is up,” Bracken said.
He also said he’s now asking customers to cover the cost of gas for long-distance travel.
“We do try to do fewer events far, far away, or if we do, we tell our customer, ‘Hey, you’re going to have to pay for our fuel because we can’t eat that anymore,’” he said.
Chris Vessels is also making changes. As the president and owner of the Louisville delivery company Total Office Products & Service, he said the business has added a small fuel surcharge to each order so long as regular unleaded gas remains higher than about $3 per gallon.
He also said the company’s schedule is changing, with the goal of reducing excessive driving.
“Because the costs have kept going up, we’ve made the decision that starting next week, we’re actually going to go from five delivery days a week down to four,” said Vessels, adding that some employees would also have a shorter work week.
Those are tactics companies that operate nationally started employing earlier this year.
In March, rideshare companies Uber and Lyft both added fuel surcharges of around 50 cents half a dollar per ride, saying revenue from the hikes would go entirely to drivers. However, a poll of the companies’ drivers by the blog The Rideshare Guy found over 40% of respondents had driven less or quit due to prices, despite the surcharges.
The rise of prices statewide has prompted action by Governor Andy Beshear.
On Thursday, Beshear sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrators asking for a temporary waiver to allow the sale of cheaper, conventional gasoline in the Louisville metro area.
Last week, he froze Kentucky’s gas tax rate, which was set to rise by two cents on July 1. The tax is currently 26 cents and contributes to the state’s Road Fund.