Lexington auto shops worry about the impact of rising gas prices

Bottles of oil at Sam's Auto Shop
Posted at 4:02 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 19:19:12-05

While only certain Kentuckians are looking for new homes, the rise in gas prices is an issue that impacts all of us. The very places charged with keeping us on the road are feeling the squeeze too.

Troy Cox is a district director for AAA and oversees 14 different shops, including Auto Tech in Lexington. "We (AAA) live and breathe the person on the road. Our roadside, our travel, all that is bred by people traveling," said Cox.

Sam's Auto Shop also depends on people traveling. "Business-wise we're doing excellent. We have a loyal customer base so that helps us carry on through the slow times," said Sam Hatton, the shop's owner.

With the recent rise in gas prices, he knows some of his regulars may have to start making tough choices when it comes to keeping up with car check-ups."Yes it's important, but putting gas in it and supplying food for their families, sometimes takes precedent to making oil changes and maintenance on them," said Hatton.

Pain at the pump is just the latest in a series of obstacles these essential business owners and managers have dealt with.

A car on the lift as Sam's Auto Shop

"Everything is in short supply," said Cox. "Add in once it gets into the United States, we gotta find somebody to put it in the back of a truck and ship it to wherever I need it to be." Supply chain and delivery disruptions are expanding the expected timeline of getting the job done.

Hatton says that simple repairs that two years ago may have only taken one to two days, because of supply issues, it could be five or six.

"If you get into major automotive repairs, as in engines or transmission, you can be delayed weeks at a time at this point," said Hatton. "Because not only is a supply chain issue, but it's also an employee issue because I don't have the employees I used to have. Instead of having eight people in the store, I have five."

Hatton only has half of the staff currently compared to 2020.

Despite the triple threat of supply chain issues, worker shortage, and rapidly rising costs, he remains optimistic about this business.
"Just want to say thank you to everyone, and I think we just need to stick together, and we will get through it all together," said Hatton.