Gas prices force companies to throw fuel budgets out the window

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by Marie Saavedra

azfamily.com

Posted on March 20, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 20 at 10:40 AM

PHOENIX -- Ask those who pull up at St. Mary's Food Bank about gas prices and you're not going to get a positive response.

"Gas prices suck," said Jim Harmon. 

Staff at the warehouse phrase it differently, but the sentiment is the same. With every jump in prices at the pump, their work feeding the hungry becomes more expensive.

Jerry Brown with St. Mary's showed us the 18-wheelers and the box trucks that haul donated food across the state. Those diesel-powered trucks run and average of 2,500 miles a day. Diesel already costs more than $4 a gallon.

"We have one that makes the trip every day from Phoenix to Flagstaff so just that one trip is a costly trip!" Brown said.

The food bank budgeted $500,000 for gas this year and they already know they need $200,000 more. So, instead of buying meals with that money, they'll buy fuel.

"We're only in mid-March right now. Memorial Day is about the time gas prices peak so if we have that large increase in gas prices, it's really going to impact the food bank quite a bit," Brown said.

If the prices climb much higher, the food bank fears that more of its services will suffer, and in turn, so will the people going there for help.

"You've got to do without a lot of stuff just so you can put gas in your car to get what you need," Harmon said. "It sucks!"

If you're as frustrated as Harmon, check out azfamily.com's online gas tracker for the best prices in your neighborhood.

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