Queens residents impacted by increased gas prices
Due to high gas prices, many people in the borough have struggled with their cost of living
BY TYLER TIMMERS
Inflation plays a large role in the daily lives of many residents living in Queens, New York. In Queens and throughout the country, gas prices have risen to extremely high rates due to this inflation. Accompanying these high gas prices are challenges that make the cost of living greater for the average person.
According to New York’s Economic Development Corporation, 62% of all households in Queens, New York own a car. The Energy Information Administration says that since November 2020, gas prices have continually increased in New York. The average price of gas in July 2022 was $4.66/gallon, which means that during that month, 62% of the households in Queens were paying anywhere from $60.58 to $74.56 for gas.
Roberta Tuozzo, a retired Queens resident, explained that her husband gets gas for their SUV once a week. “He used to spend $35 to $40 on gas and now he spends about $70 to $80,” Tuozzo said. Like many other Queens residents, Tuozzo and her husband are paying extreme rates every week, just to get a full tank.
These increasing gas prices have a lasting impact on the lives of many individuals in Queens. Maria Stamm, a 63-year-old housecleaner and Queens resident, typically has to fill her tank 4-5 times per week, spending $65 each time.
“I have to look for sales sometimes in supermarkets,” Stamm said. “Sometimes I have to take the train, instead of taking the car to save money.”
Budgeting and making difficult choices in order to save money for necessities is the reality for many people living with today’s high inflation.
Noorie Bisessar, a local Queens Mister Softee ice cream truck owner and mom of two boys, is “fed up” with inflation because she has “no choice; she needs to fill her trucks with gas”.
“Because the gas went up, every other supply went up. So we are paying more for our supplies, but unfortunately I can’t really take the cost of my ice cream up because I’m not gonna get my customers to buy ice cream every day then,” Bissessar said. “Everything is just cutting into our profit. So pretty much, we are making enough to survive… the middle class and working class are being affected more because their pay isn’t going up so you really have to budget yourself on what you are spending. Little luxuries like ice cream or maybe going to see a movie or maybe going out to dinner, people don’t have that spending power right now, especially because we live in a low and middle income neighborhood.”
As a business owner and mother, Noorie deals with the struggles of inflation and gas prices. Typically, her two ice cream trucks must be filled up with gas every other day for a total of $175.
Many Queens residents are looking to the government to make a change.
“This is a big problem everybody has in the whole world,” Stamm said. “The government has to sit and make a decision about this.”
The U.S. government has recently taken legislative steps in trying to steady inflation. For example, on August 16, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. According to Senate Democratic Leadership, the act invests $369 billion into expanding Medicare benefits, lowering energy bills, lowering healthcare costs, creating manufacturing jobs, investing in disadvantaged communities, closing tax loopholes used by the wealthy, and protecting families and small businesses making less than $400,000 or less.
Will this act help reduce inflation and in turn reduce gas prices? At this point, Queens residents –– and Americans as whole –– do not know, but can only hope for the best.