Record high gas prices affect local business

Governor takes action hoping to drive down gasoline prices statewide

PALM DESERT, Calif. - With the average price for a gallon of regular gas in California reaching a record high $4.67 on Monday, Tony Hernandez, who drives a cab for Yellow Cab of the Desert has had to change his strategy on finding fares.  He doesn't make a penny until he covers his gas costs, which have gone up about $10 a day.

"I don't move around as much anymore.  I can't afford to be going back and forth to different hotels to try and get a ride," said Hernandez.  "I got no choice.  I can't be burning gas and not get a ride, that's the way it is."

To help relieve the sticker shock at the pump and increase the supply of gas, Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered the California Air Resources Board to permit oil companies to start selling the cheaper to produce winter-blend gas.  It's normally not available until Oct. 31.

In the meantime, Arlene Mendez, the owner of Blooming Events Florist in Palm Desert, is spending $400 a week to keep her SUV delivery vehicle gassed up.  Unless gas prices start leveling off, she's going to have pass the expense on to her customers.

"We offer free delivery service in the valley and based on the prices, and if they go up any further, unfortunately we are going to be having to charge for delivery," said Mendez.

And while the experts say the governor's order should force gas prices to go down, the days may be numbered for using a big SUV to deliver flowers.

"We're considering just getting rid of it, because basically the gas prices," said Mendez.  "Maybe going for a hybrid who knows, who knows where the gas prices are going.  Maybe electric, the best way to go."

While gas prices tend to rise quickly, they historically do down slowly.

Some experts are saying it could take until Thanksgiving to see prices drop to the $4.15 range.

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