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Delivery Drivers Feel Pain at the Pump

Some companies may pass increased costs onto consumers

Drivers and the small businesses that employ them are feeling a lot of pain at the gas pump and Old Town Alexandria is no exception.

According to AAA, the current national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.98. While the average for the entire state of Virginia is lower than that, gas stations in Northern Virginia are priced higher.

The most recent spike in oil prices can be attributed to unrest in Middle Eastern countries, but as summer approaches, experts say expect prices to continue climbing. According to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration, fuel prices are up about 25 percent from 2010 and that could climb to 40 percent over last summer.

The Society of American Florists based in Old Town says local florists are doing all they can to conserve fuel and money, but it isn’t easy.

“Gas prices being this high certainly pose a challenge to any small business,” said Jennifer Sparks with the SAF.  “Florists do their best to absorb gas prices and not have to raise prices.”

Sparks says some florists already have or will have to raise delivery prices to keep up with prices at the pump.  In the meantime, they’re doing their best to make efficiency a priority by consolidating routes, using GPS and calling customers in advance to prevent return trips.

Gas prices make his job a lot tougher, said Lewis Moore, who manages Peoples Flower Shop, 509 N. Alfred St. in Old Town.

“It’s really counterproductive when gas prices are so high,” Moore said. “We had to up our fees; that’s the only way we can make it.”

And as far as consolidating routes?  That’s not always possible.

“We have to deliver where we have to go to make money, we can’t wait for specific delivery areas,” Moore said.

There are a few things you can do to keep your vehicle running at peak efficiency:

  • One simple measure is to make sure your tires are inflated to the optimal level.  According to cars.com and the EPA, this will increase your fuel efficiency by 3-4 percent. 
  • Driving slower, say 40-55 miles per hour, will also save fuel.
  • The same goes for cutting out engine revving acceleration.
  • According to cars.com, however, the old adage about filling up in the morning or evening when it’s cooler and the gas is denser is just a myth. Because gas tanks are stored 15 to 20 feet below the surface, fuel usually stays at a temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

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