Increasing gas prices are raising concerns for some Tri-City nonprofit agencies.
The Boys & Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties is taking a cautionary look at its budget, said Greg Falk, Boys & Girls Club president.
He said officials know gas bills will become an issue if prices keep climbing.
But he said higher costs won't change the nonprofit's plans for transporting children daily to attend its programs.
"The kids we pick up we are still going to pick up," he said.
Instead, there might be fewer field trips, Falk said. And gas prices might mean the club won't be able to take its Youth of the Year to Seattle to see a Mariners game. The awardee, Bianca Galvin, a Pasco High School junior, was invited, but Falk said it's not certain if the trip will happen because of the cost.
The average price for regular gas has gone up by about 29 cents a gallon within the past month, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. And prices per gallon have increased about 26 percent in the past year.
Friday's average price for regular unleaded was $3.90, a 2-cent increase from a week ago, and 80 cents higher than last year, according to the report. Premium gasoline was nearing $4.11 per gallon, while diesel was almost $4.36 per gallon.
John Neill, Tri-Cities Food Banks executive director, said gas prices are going to be an issue for the nonprofit.
Food bank volunteers pick up food in the area daily, he said. And they transport food between the Richland Food Bank, which has more storage, to the Kennewick and Benton City food banks. And volunteers also pick up food from Second Harvest Tri-Cities, which acts as a food bank to area food banks.
Neill said the group didn't budget for almost $4 per gallon gas. The nonprofit used last year's gas costs, but didn't add enough of an inflation to reach the 26 percent increase seen in the last year, he said.
Marcee Woffinden, Mid-Columbia Meals on Wheels program director, said if prices get higher, her programs could be affected.
Several years ago, she recalled gas prices got so high some volunteer drivers asked for fewer days or quit, while others asked for mileage reimbursement for the first time.
If prices continue to spike, she fears that could happen again.
Meals on Wheels uses 30 volunteer drivers to deliver 500 meals each weekday to about 230 seniors in Benton and Franklin counties, Woffinden said.
Last year, those volunteers logged 71,200 miles, she said.
With unleaded gasoline at $3.90 per gallon, volunteers' gas would end up costing at least $2,000 more. If volunteers' vehicles on average get 28 miles per gallon, they would need more than 2,500 gallons of gas to travel those 71,200 miles in a year.
That would put gas costs at about $9,900, a growth of $2,000 compared with average gas prices a year ago.
And Neill said the gas prices might lead more Tri-Citians to need the services that nonprofits such as the food bank provide.
Higher prices in expenses such as gas, rent and utilities can leave families with less discretionary income to spend on necessities like food, Neill said. And that means more families turning to the food banks to make it through the month.