Dear Reader May/June 2022

June 1st, 2022 by Nathan Hobbs

The Taxing ’20s

The gas pump nozzle clicked after a lengthy fill-up at the QuikTrip in Roswell, Ga. My family member’s 2003 Chevrolet Suburban boasts 14 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 18 on the highway, as the gas guzzler reminded me during my stop. The 31-gallon tank was thirsty, and it showed as the screen indicated a total of more than one hundred dollars.

Problems at the Pump

This anecdote tells my tale, but it’s merely a snapshot of a worldwide portrait. As I drove the early 2000s, boatlike SUV out of the station, I recalled interviews from a story written a week prior.

“It’s a trickle-down effect, with manufacturers’ yearly product costs increasing and gas prices going up simultaneously,” says Jesse Izabal, president/installer at Face Window Tinting in Torrance, Calif. “My costs to do jobs are going up as well. Some jobs take longer to get approved, and I have to readjust my quotes if it’s been a while since we first submitted them.”

Izabal’s increase came as the cost of regular unleaded gasoline scaled to a national average of $4.33 a gallon on March 11, 2022, as tracked by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Gas Prices website. It’s the highest amount on record, and the number is even more frightening for drivers opting for alternative fuel types. The national average cost of diesel climbed to an all-time high of $5.13 a day later.

“We have implemented a trip charge because of rising fuel costs,” says Mike Leffler, owner/installer at Mike’s Mobile Tint in Shelbyville, Ind. “I cover a 60-mile radius which is Central Indiana. I started charging $35 for a 0-30 mile radius and a $70 charge for 30-60 miles.”

Turning Tides?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced new emission rules requiring cars and trucks to have an average fuel economy of 49 MPG by 2026. Current costs were sparked when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The U.S. government aims to mandate environmentally-conscious, travel-friendly vehicles, but mobile film shops are concerned about the pressurized prices of 2022. Robert Moreno founded Houston’s Next Level Window Tint in 2007 when gas rose to a then-record-high of $3.07 nationally. He says, “Customers will pay the extra dollar for convenience, even as gas prices rise. Time is money.”

“The mobile business has set me apart from the brick and mortar,” says Leffler, who experienced trying gasoline tolls during the 2008 housing crisis. “I can draw work from all of Central Indiana versus my hometown. My entire name has been built on being Mike’s Mobile Tint. I have customers I have been [servicing for] more than 20 years, and they have always used the mobile service; they want me to be mobile and convenient.”

How is your mobile business faring during these financially-straining days? Reach out to me on Facebook or email for a conversation, and see News Pulse for more on the gas crisis.

Chris Collier is the assistant editor for Window Film magazine. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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