Businesses Pass Rising Fuel Costs on to Consumers

Bought gas lately? Then you know about prices for gasoline and diesel at the pump going up almost every day. At a Shell station on Chatham Parkway today, the price for regular unleaded gasoline is $1.99. Diesel fuel is even higher at $2.14 a gallon.

But whether you realize it or not, you aren't just paying at the pump. Many stores and local companies are passing on the increasing fuel costs to you.

Gray Line Tours of Savannah is just one local business that is feeling the effects of rising fuel costs. "Diesel prices have certainly increased, especially over the past 12 months," said the company's Todd McElmurray.

That's when, for the first time, diesel fuel exceeded the price of gasoline. "We've seen a rate increase from last February to this February to over 40 percent per gallon on diesel fuel."

Just think about it: a motor coach holds 240 gallons. It costs close to $500 to fill it up. And the trolleys and buses hold about 60 gallons and cost about $120 to fill up.

"Once we started seeing the initial cost, we first tried to place a five percent fuel surcharge on top of our normal rates, but unfortunately that didn't go over well with the customers, and in turn we had to increase our overall charter rates," said McElmurray.

The last thing the tour companies want to do is pass the cost onto the consumers, especially when operating a tour company in Savannah is a very competitive business. But many other tour companies are in the same boat. Old Savannah Tours is talking about raising its rates in April.

Semi truck drivers have to charge more for delivery, and even some grocery stores have had to raise prices.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter,