PORT BYRON, Ill — So many businesses cannot function without fuel. That is especially true for mowing and landscaping companies that need to keep their machines running.
"We hope this is a short-term deal," said Mike Cavins, the owner of the Uncommon Ground landscaping company.
Fuel prices, for which Cavins' company purchases in bulk from a distributor, have jumped more than 60% since this time last year.
"We have about 1,100 gallons of fuel that we refill every five days," Cavins said.
Right now, Cavins is paying about $5.80 per gallon of diesel fuel. At this time last year, he was paying about $3.38 per gallon.
"That's about a $3,800 difference from last year each week so you've gotta make that up somewhere," said Cavins.
Everything that is part of the Uncommon Ground business model relies on fuel to make it run. But with the rising costs, there is no option for Cavins to pass that increase on to his customers.
"Some of the costs are reflected in our new bids, but anything from '21 to the early spring of this year, we're still bidding at lower fuel rates," Cavins said. "There are no options for us. We just have to ride it out."
Cavins credits his team's adaptability and efficiency on the job to help preserve as much fuel as possible. He also credits the efficiency of the newer machines used at each job site.
"They're big engines, they burn a lot of fuel, but without it, we can't do our job," Cavins said.
Cavins is also finding new ways to save money, like tightening up routes and grouping work sites closer together.
It's all to preserve an expensive, essential resource, with work still left to be done.
As of Friday, diesel prices are at more than $5 per gallon in every state, according to AAA. The fuel also hit a nationwide record this week at $5.57 per gallon.
To find the cheapest gas prices in our area, click here.