Local News

Taxicab Drivers Struggle With High Fuel Costs

Posted March 14, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Taxicab drivers are getting hit hard with rising fuel costs. With prices expected to go up even higher, drivers say it is a struggle to survive.

Taxicab driver Ron Kumlander does not see yellow but red. He says rising fuel costs are putting the brakes on his profits. He and other cab drivers are losing up to $100 a week.

"The gas prices are just killing us," Kumlander says. "We can't go and chase trips like we usually do, because if we go chase trips, and no one is there, we aren't going to get them. We are going to be wasting gas."

Taxicab drivers are having to absorb the rising prices because cab fares are set by the city.

Gasoline prices are the highest they have been in North Carolina in 20 years. According to AAA of the Carolinas, Fayetteville and Asheville lead the state with an average of $1.49 a gallon.

Taxicab company owners say the process to get fares increased is a long one, but they are not ruling out getting the process started.

"If they go up, we will probably have to petition the city," says company owner David Walker.

Some private companies are asking their customers to bear the burden. Many trucking companies are adding a fuel surcharge to their deliveries.

Roadrunners Courier Service is increasing its cost by 25 cents a mile.

"It would not be cost effective for us not to pass the price along," says courier April Trew.

The average price of premium gasoline in the United States is climbing closer to $2 a gallon, but that is still well below what people pay in western Europe.

According to theU.S. Department of Energy, a gallon of premium gasoline in the United Kingdom costs $4.61. In France, a gallon of gas runs $3.94, and in Germany, it is $3.63 a gallon.

In the United States, the average for premium gas is $1.67.