WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gas prices across the county continue to rise, putting strain on a lot of drivers' wallet.
Vercal Kirby, a driver from Columbia says the prices are getting out of hand. “I feel sick about the gas prices. I think it’s idiotic that we are in this situation with the gas.”
Kirby said the prices have forced her to make difficult decisions with her family and kids. “With the gas, you decide between going to work, depriving them of their extra circular activities.”
Drivers aren’t the only ones forced to make difficult choices.
Capitol City Cabs in West Columbia is facing troubling times, too. Chris Hellerman, who works for the business, says she is losing customers because drivers can’t make far drives.
“Going from being busy my whole 8-hour shift, just constant phone call and phone call, and being to go get the customers. We had a policy - never refuse a customer a ride. Now, I’m having to tell them no, and I feel so bad because this is my business, this is my drivers’ livelihood.”
Drivers typically receive $2.50 per mile driven. However, a trip to the gas station that used to cost drivers $30-40 is now coming in at $60-80, making their profits that much smaller. She adds that the lack of service negatively impacts senior customers because they use the service when going from home to the grocery stores or even doctor visits.
“If I don’t have anybody close by, the drivers don’t want to go like all the way up to northeast from West Columbia to go get somebody”
News19 spoke to Rob Wetzel, owner of Wetzel's Automotive, who gave advice on how to save gas. He tells drivers to lighten their load.
“One of the biggest things is carrying too much of your stuff.”
He also advises that drivers pump up their tires. This can reduce drag, especially above 50 miles per hour, where cars lose most of their fuel efficiency. He tells us, it’s important to be easy on the gas pedal.
“Take off nice and easy. Don’t get in on that accelerator right off the get go. Take off nice and slow.”