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Gas Price Hike Hurting Austin-Area Businesses
The Austin metro-area has seen a major gas price spike -- 36 cents -- within the last month, and a local business owner says she's losing employees because of it.
Danielle LaBrie owns and operates Yaghi's New York Pizzeria in Pflugerville. On an average day they make between 20 and 30 deliveries, but she says it's becoming more of a challenge. "We've had several delivery drivers quit. They can't afford to fill their gas tanks, for what they are getting paid," she says.
Each driver is paid an hourly wage plus $1 per delivery, but drivers are having trouble paying for gas.
Within the last month prices shot up from $3.16 a gallon for regular unleaded to $3.52. Economist Dr. Stuart Greenfield says there are two major reasons why we're seeing a spike. The first issue is with refineries -- several refineries have been shut down for maintenance, some on the west coast have had fires and on the east coast Hurricane Sandy has caused problems.
"While most people always think of oil refineries as being native to Texas, there are a number of refineries in New Jersey that were affected by Hurricane Sandy," Dr. Greenfield says.
And as the economy improves there has been an increasing demand for energy.
LaBrie says that in order to increase what she pays her drivers she'll have to increase the delivery minimum, which is now $15. "If you say it's a $20 minimum instead of $15, we have a lot of people who say I don't want the extra pizza, so that's alright, I'll go to Domino's or Pizza Hut, so it definitely hurts us," she says.
By Lydia Pantazes