Pain at the pump hurts Valley business

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by Natalie Brand

Bio | Email | Follow: @NatalieBrand

azfamily.com

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 6:24 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 22 at 6:51 PM

PHOENIX -- Weeks of climbing gas prices are taking a toll on Valley drivers and business that rely on the road.

Eric Carpenter of Central Phoenix estimates he spends about $450 on gas each month, and that’s with a fuel-efficient car.

He owns DeliveryDine.com, a restaurant delivery service that covers Central Phoenix, as well as parts of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. Rising gas prices hit his business especially hard.

He showed us Monday night’s orders on his computer, pointing out the difficulty of dispatching calls with a longer drive time.

“That order, we’ll have to give to someone with a fuel-efficient car, or take that call as a loss,” he said.

His drivers work as independent contractors and pay for their own gas, so it’s hard to keep them as prices continue to climb.

AAA says gas prices have risen for 32 days straight. Experts blame factors including refinery issues and rising crude oil prices.  AAA expects the trend to continue through the Spring.

It’s a reality that doesn’t sit well with average American who’s taking home a smaller paycheck each month  since the payroll tax cut has expired.

“It’s hard to fill up the gas tank to get places,” said Kristin Smith.  “I can only put in $10 or $20.”

While the Arizona average at around $3.55 is still lower than the national average of around $3.73, prices in the state have increased 50 cents over the past month.

“I just want to see them go down,” said Smith.

To find the best gas prices in your area and throughout the state, check out azfamily.com's gas tracker map.

>>> AAA tips to conserve gas and cut 22 miles of driving from your week

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