The retired secretary from Salt Lake City babysits for Layla, 3, and Harlow, 1, three times a week while her daughter and son-in-law are at work. She also loves to watch Layla play soccer on Saturdays.
“I do have such a good relationship,” said Waters, who estimates it will now cost $60 to fill up her 2012 Ford Focus. “And it makes me really sad to think that I might not be able to continue. And if I don’t continue, what are they going to do for care?”
An 80-cent increase at the pump translates into nearly $700 annually on household spending on gas, according to Moody’s Analytics.
Tough for delivery drivers
He now has to shell out about $70 each time he fills up his 2016 Ford Fusion, compared to less than $50 a tank when he started the gig at the end of last year. When it’s busy, he might use a half tank of gas ferrying pies to customers in one shift.
On a good night, he could clear $55 in tips. But typically, he only makes $30 to $35 in tips a shift, on top of his $10 hourly wage.
“With tips staying the same and gas prices going up, often times I lose money when delivering to a house because the tip does not compensate the gas I used,” he said. “Sad times.”
For Nicole Humphrey, who lives in the tiny town of Buhl in rural Idaho, the increase in gas prices means she can’t look for a higher-paying position in Twin Falls, which is about 30 minutes away.
That’s where she can find jobs that pay $15 to $20 an hour. But the commute would eat up her raise, said Humphrey, 27, who works as a clerk at a local deli and drives a 2016 Nissan Xterra.
Humphrey already opted to stop taking classes at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls because of rising gas prices and Covid-19. She plans to finish her bachelor’s degree in information technology online at Western Governors University.
Curbing her driving also means Humphrey is spending less time with friends, who are mostly in Twin Falls. She studies with one classmate on Zoom, but it’s not the same.
“It can be pretty isolating,” said Humphrey. “In areas where there are small populations that are spread out, rising costs are really hurting people.”
Limits on travel
Patrick and Tracy Salyard had grand plans for the summer — that is, until fuel prices spiked.
For the past three years, the couple has lived with their two dogs in a 2002 Fleetwood Expedition motor home. After working the sugar beet harvest in Minnesota in October, they drove to Buckeye, Arizona, where they are staying until May. They put around $200 a day in their 90-gallon tank while on the road last fall, when diesel cost around $3.89 a gallon.
What will they do after that? They aren’t sure.