Rising Fuel Prices Stressing Small Business Owners

New York, NY, March 21, 2022-Rising fuel prices are taking a toll on small businesses, prompting owners of everything from furniture retailers to swimming-pool service companies to trim services and revise contracts as they try to soften the financial hit, reports the Wall Street Journal. 

“Keon Enterprises, in Harrisburg, Pa., has paid as much as $3,180 for gas in recent weeks, up from about $1,500 in mid-December. “It’s keeping me awake,” said Omara Riechi, chief executive officer of the company, which operates under the name Keon Transport and operates 32 vehicles that provide door-to-door transportation to people with disabilities. “I keep checking gas prices.”

“Fifty-two percent of small-business owners said that higher energy prices were affecting their businesses, according to a March survey of more than 780 small businesses for The Wall Street Journal by Vistage Worldwide Inc., a business coaching and peer advisory firm.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine helped push the price of oil to over $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014. Here’s how rising oil costs could further boost inflation across the U.S. economy. 

“The national average price of gasoline stood at $4.27 a gallon on March 18, according to AAA, up from $3.53 a month ago and a pandemic low of $1.77 in April 2020. Diesel fuel prices now average $5.07 a gallon, up from $3.94 a month ago.

“Higher fuel costs are the latest obstacle for small businesses, which have borne the brunt of inflation and supply-chain challenges because they don’t have the heft and sophistication to thrive in a time of strong demand and short supply. Small businesses are also struggling to find workers in a tight labor market. Meanwhile, rising interest rates will mean higher costs for firms that need to take on debt to fund inventory and for other purposes.”