How rising gas prices, travel changes are impacting independent car services

Gas prices can be an extra ten bucks a month for some, but for independent car services like Chey Cab, it’s a mortgage payment.

The holidays are a very busy time of year, and Chey Cab is on the road a lot right now. From airport runs during the day to bars and parties at night. And that’s all good, but when she goes to the gas pump, she’s not celebrating.

"It’s real for us, it’s real," founder and owner Chey Eisenman said.

Chey and other drivers have been watching the numbers climb, and their business change. The pandemic means quick trips with corporate clients have dwindled, but retail has surged. That means they’re driving a lot more miles, and when you depend on gas to keep your business rolling along, the gas prices really hurt.

"Per car we’ve seen about a $1,200 a month rise in fuel per vehicle. That’s significant," she said. "So when you’re a small business person, that money that’s not going to your bottom line is not coming home with you to pay your mortgage."

Right now, Minnesota averages about $3.16 a gallon, lower than the national average. But a year ago, we were paying a $1.95 and two years ago, it was $2.66.

"It’s much more go go go in mileage and fuel," Chey said.

Chey Eisenman is the owner and founder of Chey Car, a luxury car service in the Twin Cities area. (FOX 9)

Now it’s not just high gas prices that have changed for Chey and other drivers. Travel patterns have also changed. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving was typically the busiest travel day, but she’ll tell you, not anymore.

"Now with work from home people leave the Friday or Saturday or Sunday before or weekend before," Chey said.

But on the return, one day will be extra busy with travelers who may not see Sunday as their fun day.

"We’ve had to close our books for a two-hour window on Sunday because we already have too many reservations," she said.

Now there are some predictions that gas prices could come down with President Biden tapping into oil reserves. Chey is hopeful that could bring her business and others a little relief.