Local Businesses and Organizations Feel the Pain at the Pump

By Lindsay Nielsen

September 20, 2012 Updated Sep 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Gas Prices top over $4 and everyone is feeling the pinch at the pump.

According to Triple A, the average for regular gas in Binghamton is $4.11.

That price is down about 1 cent from yesterday but up about 23 cents from one month ago, and cab drivers are feeling the pain at the pump.

"Yesterday I stood over here for six hours, I did not pick up even one call, six hours," says Luke Handsome, owner of Best Taxi.

Luke Handsome is an independent taxi driver, he says gas prices and the economy have caused him to lose money and customers.

Handsome spent $40 in gas to fill his tank Wednesday morning, and by late afternoon had only made $16.

"At least $70, $80 in your pocket you'd be able to pay the bills but after the gas prices I don't think anybody is going to be able to make $100 a day after the gas," says Handsome.

Recently Handsome has only been able to make around $40 to $50 each day.

In Broome County cabs work by a zone system, not a distance system with a meter.

Taxi services cannot raise their fees when gas prices increase.

"A few years ago when we had cheap gas, it was a lot cheaper and the people use to make money so people use to spend more money than now use to go to restaurants and birthday parties and stuff like that," says Handsome.

Handsome says he's less likely to get tips when prices are high or even meet his $10 minimum fee.

The last time gas prices were this high in our area and nationally was July of 2008.

Wednesday's national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.86.

Meals on Wheels of Western Broome has been feeling the impact of the price hike.

It says its down dramatically in the number of new volunteers this year and attributes a major part of that to gas prices.

The organization has around 50 volunteers who drive their own vehicles to deliver meals on 20 different routes.

It has also seen food vendors add a surcharge for their deliveries to Meals on Wheels.

"We purchase food from them and we get deliveries every week. When the gas prices started to take off they added a fuel surcharge to our invoice and that's a charge that we have to pay and of course a cost added to the food that we need to feed 170 people a day," says Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Western Broome, Susan Jacobs.

"I know we do have a container here by the sign in sheet and if anybody has some extra cash and wants to put it in there for those who do need it for the gas," says volunteer, Norma Cerand.

"I know a few that have had to leave because they couldn't afford it," says volunteer, Bill Dobbin.

Wednesday's price is the highest ever for that calendar day.