WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the average gas price nears $5 a gallon in Palm Beach County, some business owners are feeling the pain.
Every increase at the pump hurts any business that depends on gas for a living a little more.
With all their equipment, refueling their tanks has a whole new meaning for landscapers.
“It forces me to charge…add that extra cost to the client, and some of them are upset,” landscaper John Arnieri said.
Arnieri owns Native Roots Landscaping Company and has to refuel, trimmers, snowblowers and his trucks.
Gasoline is the cornerstone of his business.
“I have to keep going,” Arnieri said. “I have to support my family, so I can’t do anything but keep working hard.”
The battle now is to keep their customers, which is what most landscapers face.
“It threatens to see some people start doing their yards on their own,” said Alex Gonzalez of Havana Gardens Landscaping.
Landscapers say some of their equipment requires a higher quality of gas.
“A lot of people don’t know that the gas in the two-cycle has an octane rating of 89,” Gonzalez said. “You can’t put 87 [octane]so we’re paying $5.15 a gallon just for that.”
The cost is particularly painful in Palm Beach County since gas prices are among the highest in the state.
“It’s probably a more affluent area. People are less price sensitive. You’ve got a lot of million dollar homes, a very nice place to live,” said GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan. “People are less price sensitive. There may be less competition. The cost of doing business could be higher.”
A contractor told WPTV on Monday that his Palm Beach customers don’t seem to be worried about price hikes, but most of the county isn’t.