“The cost of fuel affects everything:” Gainesville tree debris business owner adjusts to high diesel prices

"The cost of fuel affects everything:" Gainesville tree debris business owner adjusts to high diesel prices
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 10:31 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -March marked the highest average gas price in the state’s history.

“I can clearly recall gas being roughly a $1.15 a gallon,” said Resident Latalyia McKnight.

For regular unleaded, the average record high was $4.37 according to Triple A. This week’s average fell below that number at $4.16 for regular gas.

“I probably filled up for $15 to $20 and now, $15 to $20 is less than a quarter tank of gas,” added Mcknight.

No matter where or what you pump, gas prices start at around $4 a gallon but diesel increased by more than a dollar from last month’s average.

“There’s quite a fleet that backs this operation up,” said Bill Gaston. He owns Gaston Tree Debris Recycling and uses dozens of bulldozers, 18-wheelers and other heavy machinery for his multi-purpose business.

“The cost goes up and then the cost goes down,” added Gaston.

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Some machines burn through 40 gallons of diesel an hour at Gaston’s business. The average diesel price is $5 state-wide, a jump from $3.90 in February.

“As far as running our equipment, we got a machine back here that runs about 40 gallons of diesel an hour. So if you go from $2.50 to $5, you’ve just doubled the cost of your fuel and it affects everything,” mentioned Gaston.

“And when it goes up, you’ve got to pass it on. Which you know, on the trucking side of it, it increases the cost of everything. When it goes down then we’re able to roll them back.,” said Gaston. “We actually have a formula that we use but it’s unfortunate right now because it’s not just costing businesses but everybody is paying more for gas and for diesel.”

While prices are high now, Floridians will have a month of tax-free gas in October as part of the $112 billion state budget awaiting the signature of Governor Ron Desantis.

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