EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

February 20, 2013

Soaring gas prices are a pain in the wallet

People are fuming when fueling up

(Continued)

Mastrocola, 44, who works for Auto Auction of New England in Londonderry, was putting gas in his pickup and a 100-gallon fuel tank yesterday. He said he worked an extra 15 hours plowing during the recent snowstorm, but was a little nervous he would run out of money because he wouldn’t be reimbursed for at least a week.

Mastrocola said he even spent the night at his sister’s Salem home one night last week to save on gas and get through the week with money in his pocket.

“It was a little scary,” he said. “It’s had a huge impact. I used to fill up all the time, but now I only get what is going to get me through.”

Mastrocola said he spends about $100 a week on gas compared to $65 a few months ago.

“I’m definitely looking to move closer to work,” he said.

Rising fuel prices also can have a big impact on businesses that rely on deliveries, including flower shops, according to Tom Hankins of Backmann Florist in Derry.

Ninety-five percent of Backmann’s business involves deliveries, Hankins said. That means fueling the West Broadway shop’s two delivery vans can get expensive, he said.

“In terms of a flower business, it has a very big impact,” he said. “Particularly when it’s close to hitting $4.”

Hankins, who owns the shop with his wife, Mary, said they were fortunate to have done well on Valentine’s Day. But when gas prices start to creep up, it affects their business and their customers’ buying habits, he said.

“It reduces people’s discretionary income and flowers are not essential,” he said. “It definitely affects our business.”

Soaring fuel prices also affect town and school district operations, which must budget accordingly.

Derry Public Works Director Michael Fowler said he’s trying to plan right now for fiscal 2014, taking the sharp rise in gasoline and fuel prices into account.

“There is a little bit of a crystal ball involved,” he said.

For example, the town, which has 90 public works vehicles, is paying about 43 cents a gallon more for gas than expected when budgeting for that expense a year ago, Fowler said.

But Fowler said the town doesn’t expect to experience any problems with fuel expenses.

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