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'There’s going to be a loss in either revenue or customers' | Businesses weigh tough choices as gas prices creep higher

After the announcement by President Joe Biden that the U.S. will cut off Russian gas imports, the stress at the pump may get even worse in the days and weeks ahead.

WASHINGTON — Steep rises in the price of gasoline have brought pain at the pump and concerns for many drivers, especially those who rely on their cars for business.

Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, based out of Alexandria, is celebrating its 10th year in operation after a decade of serving Wisconsin-style frozen custard.

Aside from his storefront off Commerce Street, owner Brandon Byrd uses a 1952 ice cream truck to serve customers some days.

Now, with the price of a gallon of regular climbing over $4 recently, he told WUSA9 that tough decisions may need to be made.

"Any time we hear about gas prices and rising prices, I’m alarmed," he said. "As a business owner and your business is driving daily, it’s very concerning.”

Due to the age of the ice cream truck, Byrd said he needs to fill up with gasoline far more often than a modern car.

As gasoline prices creep higher and higher, he said he is now considering whether or not to raise prices for customers or to accept a loss in revenue.

"I look at it and say, 'How do I still be operable but yet not lose my customer base?'" Byrd asked. "There is a finite point where my clients say, 'We love your product and customer service but at the same time it’s hard to justify a $15 cup of custard.'”

Delivery drivers have also felt the stress of paying far more to keep their cars running.

Lamonte Johnson has been a driver for DoorDash since 2020. However, he told WUSA9 on Tuesday that it's becoming even tougher to afford staying on the road.

"Forget repairing your car or getting an oil change, just buying gas is $4.25. That’s insane," he said. "If you don’t have a certain amount of money, it's going to be almost impossible for you to get out there and do that stuff to begin with.”

Johnson said he budgets for gas alongside other living needs. Due to the sharp price hikes, he has to consider where else to save.

"You got to consider eating. You got food, water, utilities. All that stuff still counts with the car," he said. "You just hope you don’t get in a wreck and hope you have insurance.”

After Tuesday's announcement from President Joe Biden that the U.S. will cut off Russian gas imports, the stress at the pump may get even worse in the days and weeks ahead.

Moving forward, Byrd said he planned to keep serving ice cream in hopes of getting through yet another hardship after the pandemic. 

"It’s going to be uncomfortable," he said. "But we’ll still be here unless God says otherwise.”

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