gas prices

Gas Prices Remain Close to Record Highs in San Diego County

Businesses with multiple vehicles feel the pain at the pump a bit more

NBC Universal, Inc.

In case you didn’t notice, gas prices are still ridiculously high in San Diego County. They're hard on drivers, of course, but the prices are incredibly hard on businesses that manage a fleet of vehicles.

“You just started seeing them creeping up,” Rhett Wheeler said with a sigh. “Every day you drive by and it’s 10 cents more, 10 cents more.”

Wheeler is the fleet manager for Bill Howe Plumbing, which is headquartered in Serra Mesa. He oversees a fleet of 165 trucks.

“It’s been difficult to manage,” Wheeler said.

“We have no control over it as business owners — none at all,” said his boss, Tina Howe. “We’re going to make the best of every situation, and keep plugging along and doing what we do well.”

As of Wednesday, AAA said a gallon of regular unleaded in San Diego County averaged a hefty $4.62. It was only $3.38 this time last year.

Wheeler said that translates to 40% higher fuel costs this year for his fleet.

“It’s frustrating but I tell myself, ‘There’s no use fretting over stuff you can’t control,’ ” Wheeler said with a shrug.

Regrettably, Howe said Bill Howe Plumbing had to raise its prices to keep the trucks moving. That bothered Howe.

“It did because the model for our business has always been to be value-priced” Howe said.

Making matters worse, the more expensive summer blends of gas are only a few months away at California gas stations. For now, though, San Diego County is below it’s all-time high of $4.73, which was set in October 2012.

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