FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM FEBRUARY 24, 2022 • THE QUEENS COURIER 21
Queens residents, gas station owners
struggling to keep up with rising prices
BY JULIA MORO
Queens residents have been feeling the
eff ects of infl ation — rising prices and a
loss of purchasing power — all without
wages matching the increase in the cost
Th e price of gas alone has gone up about
one dollar this year. Gas station owners
are scared, drivers are budgeting and no
one knows who to blame.
Tasos Drivas opened a Mobil gas station
in Long Island City nearly 30 years
ago, and he told QNS he worries every day
about losing his business.
“What will I do if I lose this business?”
Drivas said. “I already lost two-thirds of
the business I had, and at my age now,
it’s not the time to start again. Th e businesses
have been struggling aft er the government
stopped giving out checks. Now,
over 90% of people use credit cards at my
station. It’s a problem. It’s very tough for
According to AAA, the national average
for a gallon of gas is $3.44, over one dollar
more than it was a year ago. Th ere are a lot
of diff erent factors to blame for this surge
in prices. First, AAA says that cold weather
increases the demand for heating oil.
On top of that, foreign aff airs and the concern
that Russia will sanction and withhold
crude oil in the already tight market
puts pressure on prices.
“Th is shows how events on the other
side of the globe can have a noticeable
impact right here in the U.S.,” said
Andrew Gross, an AAA spokesperson.
“And unfortunately for drivers, they are
reminded of this by higher prices at the
Drivas said that he sees fewer and fewer
people come around to purchase gas at his
station. Sometimes, customers only fi ll up
a few dollars’ worth of gas at a time when
they can aff ord to do so. On top of this, he
noticed many Uber and Lyft drivers coming
through his station, many of whom
pay for their gas but complain that their
wages do not cover the rising costs.
“Whatever you touch is more expensive,”
Drivas said. “Th e prices go up everywhere.
I’m worried; everyone’s worried.”
Anthony, a Lyft driver, said that he
applied to work for Uber since he heard
they would pay 25 cents on the dollar for
gas. “It’s very little,” Anthony said, “but
every bit counts.”
“Th e gas every day is diff erent; I pay
more for gas every day,” Anthony said.
“Working in the city, you use the most gas.
Th e more you work, the more you pay.”
But it’s not just gas prices that have dramatically
increased — food, clothing and
other items have also seen prices rise over
the past few months.
Anthony said he and his wife struggle to
keep up. A trip to the grocery store, which
once cost around $100, has doubled.
“My wife told me this morning, our grocery
bill went up to $200, just for food,”
With infl ation soaring over the past
year and reaching its highest rates in four
decades, it is hard to predict an end to
the rise in prices. Th e Labor Department
released a statement earlier this month
saying consumer prices jumped 7.5% last
month compared to the previous year, the
steepest increase since February 1982.
Alex Samssaris, a Long Island City resident, fi lls up his tank at the Mobil station in Long Island City.
Photos by Julia Moro
Swaran Singh, a cashier at the Mobil station in Long Island City.