High Gas Even Affects The Ice Cream Man

SPOKANE — Gas prices have fallen the past 13 days in a row, as the national average is now $3.92. Even though prices are falling, it’s still melting profits for one popular business.

It is good news to local ice cream truck drivers, because the high price of gas has been taking a bite out of their profits this summer.

You can hear Chris Larkin coming from a mile away. That music instantly gets kids running for his truck. But this year, the sweet song of the ice cream man is playing less than it used to thanks to high gas prices.

“It’s definitely affecting us,” Larkin says.

He says they used to start their day at noon, but now don’t hit the road until around three.

“A lot of our business comes after dinner, late afternoon,” he says. “It’s not worth the risk and go out that early if you’re not going to get that much business.”

The price of treats has also increased about a quarter, but $4 gas is hurting customers, too.

“We don’t go around,” says Vin Nguyen. “We just go to work and go home.”

Heidi Johansen doesn’t own a car anymore.

“When my last one broke down, I haven’t decided to buy another,” she says, “because I’ve saved so much money not driving one.”

The ice cream man has to drive. Larkin covers about 50-60 miles a day, and that adds up

“I know it’s tough” he says. “We’re spending at least two or three times what we used to.”

But the price of gas isn’t getting Larkin down, because he likes being the ice cream man.

“I get to see a lot of happy kids,” says Larkin. “I’m basically like Santa to them, so I’m not complaining.”

The average price of regular unleaded has fallen 18 cents since it hit a record two weeks ago. Gas prices are declining because the price of oil is also dropping, as the high cost of fuel is slowing demand.