Higher Gas Prices Impacting Small Businesses

70% Of Small Businesses Affected

American small businesses are straining under the burden of higher gas prices. More than 70% of small-business owners who responded to a recent survey by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council said that escalating gas prices are impacting their firms.

"The fragile economy is being undermined by high gas prices," said SBE Council President Karen Kerrigan. "The weak recovery and policy uncertainties are already weighing on the confidence and minds of small-business owners. Now they must find a way to cope with higher fuel costs."

In some instances, that coping has taken the form of cutting employee hours and raising prices. According to the survey, 41% of small businesses said expensive gas was affecting their plans to hire, while 40% have raised prices and 22% reduced staff hours. Additionally, 43% of respondents feel their businesses will not survive if energy prices remain high or increase. "Very few businesses are immune from the negative effects of rising energy costs," said Ray Keating, SBE Council chief economist.

Many business owners believe Washington is failing to do enough to curtail the impact of rising fuel prices. No less than 61% of survey respondents said they're dissatisfied with the economic policies of the federal government. "The surge in gas prices underscores the need for the administration to move without haste on advancing pro-energy polices," said Kerrigan. "The U.S. cannot allow world events, supply disruptions and global demand surges to control the fate of our economy or global competitiveness."

The SBE Council conducted the survey from March 5-16, polling 304 business owners. In that time frame, the weekly average price for gasoline climbed from $3.68 per gallon to $3.82, according to the Energy Information Administration. – CR