As drivers have struggled with the rising price of gas over the last month, so too have gas stations and other businesses in Central Mass.
“An increase in gas prices is never good for anybody,” said Sean Flynn, owner of Flynn’s Truck Stop in Shrewsbury. Not only does he see fewer customers, but Flynn said he also sees them spending less at the pump.
According to AAA, the price of gas has been on the rise for the last month as a result of a late surge in summer demand and, more recently, due to speculation over Hurricane Isaac. The national average price per gallon of regular self-serve gas this week is $3.75, three cents more than one week ago and 26 cents more than one month ago.
According to GasBuddy.com, which lists gas prices by town, Central Mass. has prices similar to the national average. The cheapest is Peterson Oil on Route 9 in Northborough at $3.63 and some of the highest prices are found at stations in Westborough and Shrewsbury.
Michael Rooney, President and CEO of both the Shrewsbury and Westborough Taxi companies, said he sees the prices at the increase daily as commuters hunt for a deal.
“I can see people actually watching the prices,” Rooney said. “We go by every day and the prices on the Route 9 corridor are so high.”
Rooney said his company has a deal with Peterson Oil to get gas at a discounted cost and noted they were the best around in terms of price.
“They are very competitive with BJ’s Wholesale up the road and they are full-service,” Rooney said.
Other local gas stations are struggling to keep their prices competitive.
Grafton BP Manager Michael Awde noted they don’t set the price daily at their shop, but rather must follow a national price, making it hard for them to attract customers.
“We see fewer people coming here as they hunt around for a better deal,” Awde said.
He added that the auto body portion of their business also takes a hit when gas prices rise. “The less people drive, the less maintenance they need,” Awde said.
Millbury’s Riverside Market manager Mohamed Eieadah said they are constantly trying to undercut other area stations, but it often doesn’t help with profits.
“People are on a budget, so they spend $20 on gas,” Eieadah said. “That used to buy them five gallons, now it only buys them four.”
Station owners are speculating some relief in gas prices coming soon since Hurricane Isaac has passed.