The spike in gasoline prices is causing more economic pain for small businesses already struggling to recover from pandemic financial losses and the ongoing labor shortage.
A recent nationwide Alignable Poll of about 6,500 small business owners found 68% reporting that rising gas prices have had a “very significant” on their economic recovery. Not surprisingly, extremely fuel-dependent businesses in the transportation sector were feeling the most financial pressure, with 91% of these small businesses saying that they had been highly affected.
Other small businesses that require workers to drive long distances as part of the job, such as cleaning services (90%), news organizations (86%), and plumbing businesses (78%), also reported being more significantly impacted by the cost of gasoline.
Beauty salons, restaurants, retailers, and repair shop owners reported being significantly affected by gas price hikes because food and other goods delivered to them on trucks now cost more. For example, beauty salons (79%), repair shop owners (73%), manufacturers (71%), restaurants (66%) said they are struggling because higher fuel costs are being passed on to them in the prices of products they buy or because customers are driving less often to their place of business.
Businesses that were less impacted were in professions that rely more heavily on “desk work” that can be done remotely – such as lawyers, accountants, financial planners, and professionals in marketing and advertising. Fewer than 60% of these small business owners reported that gas prices had highly impacted their operations.
The price of gasoline, which now averages $4.22 a gallon nationwide, has risen 48% over the course of the past year. The average cost of a gallon of diesel is now $5.11 nationwide, according to AAA. In New Jersey, the average price of diesel is even higher: $5.30 a gallon.