With gasoline selling for less than $3 a gallon in many cities across the United States for the first time in four years, food truck vendors say they’re feeling the benefits. The average price for a gallon of regular stands at $2.70 today, a drop of 62 cents in a year, according to AAA’s fuelgaugereport.com.
For mobile food vendors, especially those who rely on multiple vehicles, that translates into significant savings. A poll for the National Federation of Independent Business showed energy costs are among the top three expenses for about a third of small businesses. Companies can apply those fuel savings to personnel or equipment costs, or pass savings to customers.
Why are prices so low? Increased domestic energy production, combined with OPEC’s decision not to lower production targets, has increased oil supplies at a time when demand around the world is tepid.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, expects oil prices to fall by another $5 or $10 a barrel before stopping. “It’s that kind of rout,” he told the Associated Press.
Kelli Crisan considers herself one of the first food truck vendors to sell in Charlotte. In May 2011, she opened Roaming Fork “Bistro on Wheels,” where she and her staff cook “porky sandwiches,” “ooey gooey” grilled cheese on sourdough and a “Hannah Montana MoJo.”
Usually, keeping the truck’s electricity on and water running for two lunch shifts with a gas-powered generator costs about $20. Since prices have dropped, she has been using $14 for three shifts.
“It almost gives us one free day” of not buying gas, Crisan said.