By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
A recent spike in local gas prices has area businesses and residents reeling at the pumps.
With 19 semi-trucks traveling on the road across the country, Welch Trucking is feeling the effects of the rising fuel prices, which jumped about 10 cents a gallon in the last few days.
Welch Trucking Vice President Bubby Welch said the company’s trucks, which travel an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 miles per week, average 5.2 miles a gallon.
“It’s tough. We have to pass it on to the customer in what we call a fuel surcharge,” Welch said.
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline Thursday in Portales was $2.83.
Prices actually aren’t much higher this year. There has been an increase of about 8 cents since last year.
However, prices have climbed about 15 cents in the last four weeks, with the biggest jump of almost 10 cents occurring the last few days, according to data from AAA New Mexico.
Part of the reason lies in struggles with seasonal maintenance at the refinery level reducing gas supplies and in turn driving up prices, said Jeannie Chavez, AAA New Mexico spokesperson.
“If the refineries can build up the supplies, the prices at the pump should come down,” she said.
But summer usually means higher prices during the travel season.
Higher prices have not reduced demand, and experts anticipate demands will continue to rise over summer, she said.
Roosevelt County resident Laura Quiroz, who travels to Clovis to attend classes at Clovis Community College, said she has cut other expenses out of her budget in order to compensate for the rising fuel prices.
“If your budget is tight, and you have a certain amount of money for the month and prices go up and down, you end up short,” Quiroz said.
She said she is considering purchasing a smaller, more economical car, she said.
“It’s (fuel) getting pretty expensive. Hopefully it will stop,” Quiroz said.
— Freedom Newspaper writer Sharna Johnson contributed to this report.
Average gas prices
February $2.281 $2.245
March 2.498 2.530
April 2.760 (to date) 2.821 (to date)
—AAA New Mexico