TAMPA - Wednesday was like many days for 10-year cab veteran Isander Gosto: He waits for more people to come out of the airport, in hopes of getting more business. But lately, things have been slow.
"When they are high like this, it's very hard to try to make ends meet because you're working for fuel and for lease," he says.
Gosto says it costs him about $2000 a month to lease his taxi. On a good day, he says he will get maybe five or six customers from the airport that need to go a good distance. On a bad day, he may have five customers, but that only need to travel three or four miles. That means he still has to shell out the same amount, decreasing his profit margin significantly. That's especially true when gas prices spike like they have been.
"Everything you do cost you more," says Gosto. "Running your air conditioning, going out of the way, you know, everything you do it cost more money."
Analysts say gas prices are sitting at a seven week high right now. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular gas is around $3.63, up $.13 from last week and almost up a quarter from a month ago.
Right now, the California oil refinery fire that injured dozens, is being blamed for a shortage of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil. In addition, Tropical Storm Ernesto in the Gulf has halted some production, leaving the nation to deal with the spike in prices at the pump.
Gregg Laskoski with gasbuddy.com says there are a number of factors driving the prices higher.
"The Department of Energy has told us both gasoline inventory and crude oil inventory is down on the east coast and also in the gulf coast regions. The gulf coast inventory is down by half a million barrels. Refineries are trying to get rid of the summer blend gasoline. That would most likely be pushing up retail gas prices, regardless what's happening in the Midwest or California."
Laskoski says while he expects to see an incremental increase in prices for the next couple of weeks. However, he does expect them to level off and start the steady decline again -- welcome news for cab drivers like Gosto.
"You just try to survive. You just try to make it."
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