With gas prices 85 cents a gallon more expensive than at this time last year, some North Central Florida businesses are forced to do different things to draw in customers. One way they're luring customers: giving them gas.
Gas is more expensive because the demand in other countries is higher than its ever been. The high prices are affecting places like car dealerships, but Gainesville Dodge has been selling more cars since they started their gas special six weeks ago. If you buy a car ar any Chrysler, you get a gas card that's good for three years and entitles you to 36,000 miles of gas at $2.99 per gallon. At the Clarion Inn on Newberry Road, you get a $20 gas card when you stay in a $69 per night room. While problems at the pump may be helping these companies, in the long run it may not be good for the economy.
"If you buy a vehicle like that that's a gas hog, and they tell you that you're not going to have to pay more than three dollars per gallon," says Dr. Dave Denslow, an economist at the University of Florida, "that's encouraging you to keep on driving. That's discouraging you from doing all the things that we need to do in order to reduce our dependence on oil imports."
Denslow says that while there's no way to be sure, he thinks that the increases we're seeing in gas prices are permanent. His reasoning is simple - the demand of gas is rising more quickly than the supply.