You'll be hard-pressed to find a gallon of gas below $3.99 in Austin as national gas prices reached an all-time high of $4.32 per gallon Thursday, causing some Austin residents to think twice before grabbing their car keys.
Gas prices on E. Riverside Dr. were almost all $3.99, including at the Apple Mart. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
For Austinites like Francisco "Fran" Ordaz, that means making small adjustments to his schedule.
"I walk to the store a bit more now," Ordaz said. "Not a huge change, but a change nonetheless."
Are current gas prices going to affect how much you drive? Let me know why/more opinions in the comments!
— Claire (@partain_claire) March 10, 2022
For others who need to drive to get anywhere, the new spike in prices will just empty their wallets further as other necessary expenses, like rent and groceries, continue to rise.
"It's atrocious," Stefan, who said he wasn't comfortable with giving his full name, told Austonia. "To do anything—groceries, work, anything—driving is still a big part of my life, but at the same time I might Uber at some point."
Even though most Americans—around 83%—still rely on driving most days, many gas pumps near E. Riverside Drive were empty Thursday morning.
The Mobil gas station on Oltorf St. was mostly empty Thursday morning. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Sam Devkota, who works at Apple Mart at 2101 Wickersham Ln., said the gas station saw traffic go up and then down as drivers scrambled to get cheaper gas before it reached $3.99
"We've seen a little bit less," Devkota said. " I think it will go down and down tomorrow."
Some Austinites, like Jeroen Naus, are rejoicing in their remote work schedule amid the spike.
"Working from home, my driving has gone down significantly," Naus said. "(I spend) less time stuck in traffic."
Naus thinks ride-sharing apps like Uber will see the biggest impact in coming weeks, and the company already reported higher than anticipated February demand on Monday, reaching just 10% below pre-pandemic levels.
But more expensive gas means more expenses for Uber drivers, who took to social media to air their frustrations. Some even quit as they complained that they barely broke even with the heightened price.
Meanwhile, some Austin residents, like Peter Dolan, aren't having any pain at the pump.
Peter Dolan has been impressed with his Tesla, from low transportation costs to plenty of trunk space. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
That's because Dolan and his wife swapped their sedan and minivan for Teslas a few years back. For Dolan, a trip to Nashville and back cost him $35—roughly the same as one typical full tank of gas.
A source told Electrek that Tesla orders in certain parts of the country increased 100% this week, and Dolan said he thinks that trend will continue as more people cut out gas prices completely with electric vehicles.
"Tesla orders are screaming right now," Dolan said. "Because people are just saying, 'Wait a minute, what's going on here? How much am I going to have to pay?' The infrastructure is there and so it's really just a matter of time."
For those still stuck at the pump, the worst may be yet to come: fuel savings app GasBuddy's 2022 gas price predictions say prices could peak at $4.25 in May.
But what comes up, must come down, according to Ben, who wasn't comfortable disclosing his full name.
"It'll go back down later... that's the way I see it," Ben said. "I'll go wherever I need to go."
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It seems almost every business has a "Now Hiring" sign plastered on the front door, but not Texas' beloved Buc-ee's, the world record holder for largest convenience store, which has become a sensation on social media for retaining its workforce.
The jobs report from the Biden administration, which was released last week, showed that job growth for April was lower than expected, only rising by 266,000 people, leading economists to declare a workforce shortage across multiple sectors. Austinites can see businesses with "Now Hiring" signs just by going to their local coffee shop, gas station and retail store.
General counsel for Buc-ee's Jeff Nadalo said contrary to other businesses in the area, the beaver-themed convenience store has a huge amount of people who want to work at the company.
"With our very robust benefits plan and pay structure, we're still able to encourage and get applicants to apply," Nadalo told Austonia.
I've been to 4 different Buc-ees locations across the last 6 months. Not a single one had a sign lamenting that "nobody wants to work anymore" or apologizing for short staffing. https://t.co/6hBhtbbb5I
— Officially outlived Jesus (@theramblerouser) May 11, 2021
Buc-ee's proudly starts employees at just less than double the minimum wage at $14, advertises 40+ hour work weeks, offers three weeks of paid time off and has 401k and complete healthcare options for employees. Buc-ee's advertises the competitive compensation openly, displayed on signs at store locations.
Nadalo said Buc-ee's strives to create a positive work environment and promote from within, meaning applicants can join at an entry-level position and eventually be promoted to a management or corporate role.
"Our motto is 'Clean, friendly and in-stock,' and in order for us to satisfy each of those, we have to look at a business plan that serves the customer but also provides an environment where employees are going to want to stay and will encourage career development," Nadalo said.
Between the rising cost of living in Austin, income resulting from pandemic unemployment, changes in life plans and raising awareness over the treatment of employees in the workplace, people are looking for jobs that suit their needs.
Nadalo said there is one more reason people might be applying to Buc-ee's.
"We have really good barbecue."
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