May 1, 2005 St. John residents seemed to have two schools of thought Sunday on rising gas prices. Either they don't drive enough to feel much of a pinch in their pocketbook, or they're cutting back elsewhere to fill up their tank.
"It went from $30 to $55 every week. It's a lot of money," St. John resident K.D. Scheer said.
She said she lives at Salt Pond, nearly as far from Cruz Bay as you can get and still be on St. John. She teaches at Julius E. Sprauve School and ferries her kids around for school and after-school activities.
Scheer said she'll have to cut out some luxury items to pay the gas bill.
Mike McLaughlin said he makes about six trips a week to Cruz Bay from Coral Bay, but wasn't complaining about the price increase.
"But I feel sorry for people whose livelihood depends on it," he said.
Gas prices topped out at $3.00 for premium at E&C Gas Station in Pine Peace. Their price for regular was $2.95. This gas station sells Domino Gas.
The Domino gas station in Coral Bay had the cheapest prices, with premium running $2.79 and regular $2.69.
The Texaco Station was charging $2.91 for premium and $2.85 for regular.
St. John has only three gas stations.
Even the taxi drivers were divided on their opinions. Kenneth Ellis said that he thought the recently-allowed $2 per person surcharge on taxi fees was too high.
However, Claudius LaFonde thought it was fair.
Ellis said it won't be easy to charge each passenger the extra $2 because the fee is not included on the taxi tariff schedule.
Cruz Bay area contractor Danny McElwee said he's changed his driving habits because of the high cost of gas. He said he no longer takes jobs in Coral Bay because it costs too much in gas and wear and tear on his trucks to get there.
He said he's also started using his motorcycle a lot more.
"I can go and look at jobs and I can get stuff from the hardware store on my motorcycle," he said.
Electrician Paul Devine said his gas budget has doubled since the beginning of the year. However, he said he hasn't raised his prices.
"It draws away from my profit," he said.
McLaughlin said he expected many business people to increase their prices to pay for their higher gas bill. However, he anticipated many would go up 50 percent to pay for a 10 percent increase in gas prices.
"That's what's going to hurt us more," he said.
Bonnie Blair, who said she wasn't that alarmed by rising gas prices, noted that St. John residents are already used to extraordinarily high prices.
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