Credit Suisse analysts have raised concerns about the impact of rising gas prices on some small- and medium-sized businesses in Florida, with some estimating that they could lose at least $10,000 in revenue if gas prices go up.
They’re calling on regulators to look into the impact on some businesses as well as the state’s budget, but say the impact could be minor.
“The impact on these small- to medium-size businesses could be minimal because they would only have to make adjustments on the margin to ensure that they’re making sufficient adjustments,” says Jeff Sirota, an analyst at Credit Suisa’s credit rating agency.
“There’s not a significant impact on the overall financial condition of the small- or medium-business community in Florida.”
The impact on small-to-medium-size business owners, however, is significant.
Sirotas says the impact is already noticeable at gas stations across Florida, especially in the Everglades.
Many of the gas stations in Florida are located in areas with a large population of people with limited transportation, and those customers are forced to drive to nearby gas stations to pay for gas.
The impact of higher gas prices could be felt on gas stations like Sunoco Station, which serves more than 70,000 customers.
Sirota says that even though there are gas stations within the Evergreens, they’re all on a different level.
Gas stations that serve a larger percentage of the population, like Suncoast and Gasland, are located further away.
The Everglade National Park is located further out, about 15 miles from the gas station, so it would take a much longer trip to the gas pumps there, he says.
The same is true for Sunoco, which is located just a few miles from Sunoco.
Sunoco has been in business for more than 25 years, but Sirotsa says the company has only recently been able to expand its operations.
At Sunoco’s headquarters, a white sign reads “We are one of the fastest growing small businesses in the United States,” and is adorned with an orange sign that says “We will never stop doing business.”
The company is a subsidiary of the United Petroleum Corporation, which has its own gas stations, but Sunoco also has a refinery in the Florida Keys, Sirotis says.
In an email, Sunoco spokesperson Katie Bickford said the company’s gas stations have been in operation since 2010, and it’s not unusual for small businesses to find that they need to expand to serve a growing population.
“In order to meet these growing needs, we have expanded the size of our gas station network to serve more customers,” she wrote.
“Our gas stations are designed with an emphasis on customer satisfaction and customer service.”
Sunoco has not said how much its gas stations could lose, but said it would not be affected.
Surota says he doesn’t think this could have a significant effect on the economy.
“It’s not like the average small business would have to lose a lot of money if gas went up,” he says, adding that he thinks the impact might be minor and that the effects on small businesses might be limited.
A small percentage of Florida residents would be impacted by rising gas rates, he said, but the impact would be negligible.
The Sunoco spokesman says the gas price increase could affect gas stations located closer to home.
“We can tell you that in our gas stations we do not have to close in order to have customers,” Bickfords wrote.
She said the gas company would continue to work with the state to find solutions to keep its gas station stations open.
Sunoco said it will not be making any changes to its gas pricing strategy in Florida.
This story was produced by The Associated Press.
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