Valley sees higher gas prices at the pump

FRESNO, Calif.

People filling up just aren't happy with the spike in gas prices. But what Action News also found Sunday is these rising prices are also hurting local gas station owners.

Filling up is getting pricey. The average cost for regular gas in Fresno according to the American Automobile Association (AAA) is now nearly $4.00 a gallon. On Sunday, a customer shelled out more than $150 to top off.

Gas Station Owner Vikram Vohra said, "In the last two weeks it has increased about 30 to 40 cents which is a lot for the consumer."

Vikram Vohra and his family own more than a dozen gas stations throughout the valley. He says the rapid spike is hurting his business.

"It affects us too because people don't shop inside the store more often than what they used to do. They just cut down on the soda pops and beer or whatever they have to buy, so they just have to empty their pockets on gasoline only," Vohra said.

Fresno State Marketing Professor Bill Rice says any change in gasoline prices has a ripple effect on the local economy.

Rice said, "When that goes up it affects other people in various amount of degrees that have to also depend on that resource, so that's exactly what's happening."

In Northwest Fresno another family run operation is also feeling the pain at the pump. Charles Arnold and his wife Darlene own Wild Rose Floral and Gifts. They're now ramping up for their busiest time of the year.

Charles Arnold said, "Valentine's day is all about roses. Most guys are pretty traditional in that regard."

The couple has to carefully plan every delivery so they can save on fuel.

"We have tried to be more efficient in the way we do our deliveries, we try to route things so we don't have any waste of time or gas and that's really critical that we do that because fuel pricing, it can get pretty pricey," Arnold said.

But they're also worried about crooks that have recently targeted their delivery van. Arnold has even installed an alarm to stop them.

Darlene Arnold of wild rose floral and gifts said, "We have had our gas stolen out of our work van five times, that was five times they broke off the locking gas caps and took off the gas. It was very frustrating."

AAA says the higher costs are the result of a combination of factors, including rising wholesale prices and low gasoline supplies.

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