Rising Gas Prices Hurting Business - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Leake County 08/19/05

Rising Gas Prices Hurting Business

By Davis Brister

Soaring gas prices are laying the wood to those who depend on wood for their livelihood. And if prices continue to soar, some say one of the state's largest industries, the logging business, is in deep trouble. And at some point, higher costs will be passed on to you.

For Doug Powers and his logging company, gas prices are rising faster than he can chop trees.

"It's been a big impact on us all the way around," he says.

Powers uses twelve 18 wheelers to hall his timber. The recent gas hike has him paying 50 dollars more per truck per day.

"It's bad because you look at the profits of the big oil companies, and it's astronomical, and the people that are hurting are the working people out here in the field," stated Powers.

He and other loggers are bracing to pay even more for fuel up until the end of the year. Because of that, he believes timber prices will rise. That, in turn, would affect businesses like Prassel Lumber Company in Ridgeland.

"Eventually, it'll have to be passed on somehow," said Alan Brunson Prassel.

As gas prices continue to rise, that means a shift in cost to you, the consumer. That means you'd have to pay more for things like paper and furniture, even individual pieces of wood themselves. To make matters worse, everyone in the timber business seems to have to pay just to have things delivered in and out.

"All of the road trucks are putting a surcharge on their bills, and that's your Wal-Marts, that's where we're seeing it," said Powers.  "Even UPS does that."

Powers says he'll survive, but worries about those who haul his timber.

"That's their living, and the fuel's taking money right out of their pocket," he expressed. 

He fears the next inevitable increase will force some of those he relies on out of the woods and into the unemployment line. It's believed gas prices will reach well over three dollars per gallon in Mississippi by the end of the year.

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