Gas prices predicted to be on the rise, long-distance drivers react

Business owners could ask customers to absorb cost

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Kathleen Menchero, a Naples resident, has been in Jupiter to promote her homegrown business, "Top Dog Kitchen."

"It was a three-day dog show, over at the South Florida fairgrounds," said Menchero. "The Jupiter-Tequesta Dog Club Show."

Selling her organic, homemade treats takes time, and a lot of gas.

"We just did a north Fort Myers dog show," she said. "Next, we're going to be going to Arcadia."

The driving adds up.

"Another half a tank just now," she said, as she filled her gas tank at a West Palm Beach gas station off the Florida Turnpike. "When we left Naples, it was only $3.46 a gallon, and I'm now paying 20 cents more a gallon."

George Bowen also stopped at the same gas station. He had driven in from his Montgomery, Alabama hometown for a Miami family reunion.

"The premium (in Montgomery) was about $3.50, $3.60, something like that," he said. "Now I'm paying a lot more here in Florida. $4.06 for 93 octane? That's a little much."

Oil traders said gas prices will rise later in the week, because of turmoil in oil-producing countries. The price of oil has been rising, but gasoline had not caught up yet. However, experts say that jump is coming.

That means Menchero will have to force her customers to absorb the costs of extra gas.

"We'll have to tell them, I can't deliver it on Wednesday, you're going to have to wait until Friday, because now we're building up a round trip route," she said.

It's a business practice, that she had hoped she would never have to do.

"When you add it all up, when you travel as much as we do, that's a lot of money," she said.

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