Road service company reacts to high gas prices

Gas prices in Florida have hit a new high. The average gasoline price is now $4.82, down from $4.75 just earlier this week.

AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins told Bay News 9’s Katya Guillaume that a combination of tight global supply and strong demand is the main reason people are feeling the pain at the pump . He said, however, that despite rising prices, consumer spending remains very strong.

“For the majority of Floridians, travel is always a priority for them,” Jenkins said. “If you have pain at the pump, then in many cases people compensate for that by budgeting for it.

“Expect to pay more for gas, spend less on shopping, eat out, maybe stay at a cheaper hotel, or just travel closer to home.”

Road service companies are also feeling the impact of rising petrol prices and say calls for people stranded and in need of petrol have increased.

The jump in the 24 hours just before the start of the weekend has some fearing what will happen on Saturday.

Collin Nevels has owned a 24/7 roadside in Pinellas County for almost three years now.

“Initially, I like helping people – so I went into this job thinking I would do this as a job,” he said. “And I’ve found that I love helping people on a day-to-day basis and I love making people less stressed, I guess, and defusing things.”

Because he works alone, everything he needs is right here in the back of his car.

“I have my unlocking kit here which I use from time to time, but most of the time lately we’ve only been doing tire changes and fuel deliveries,” he said. said, pointing to the back of his car.

With the average gas price at just under $5 a gallon and steadily rising, he said he was working harder than ever.

“It’s been up — doubled or tripled in the last two months, and I’m probably getting about 20 to 30 calls a month (for gas alone),” Nevels said. .”

He said that was enough gas for someone to drive to the nearest gas station to fill up.

“There are certainly people who are facing the economic ramifications of this, of course, because it is certainly less fortunate people who are making these phone calls asking for help,” he said. .

Nevels said he doesn’t expect his workload to slow down anytime soon, especially with the summer season.

“I saw a lot more people in need stuck on the road, on the highway,” he said. “Fortunately, there are rangers in Florida right now, but there could still be services implemented elsewhere.”

Nevels said he tries to keep his turnaround time under 30 minutes to serve as many drivers as possible.

He works alone now, but the goal is to expand his business beyond Tampa and St. Petersburg.

It is not the only road service company to deal with an increase in calls. With the nationwide shortage of workers, many more say they are so busy that customers are seeing longer wait times – even as they do their best to help as quickly as possible.

Veronica J. Snell