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Huh? Why does Rumpke still add a fuel surcharge?

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 18:57:21-05

Glenn Mehltretter is frustrated, as he takes out the trash at his West Chester home.

Gas prices are now well below $2 a gallon, half what they were two years ago, but his Rumpke trash bill still contains a $4 fuel surcharge.

"Gas prices are the lowest they have been in 10 years, at least, and here we are paying a fuel surcharge," he said. "And it seems companies these days do that left and right."

Mehltretter says he understood it when gas and diesel prices spiked above $3 a gallon a few years. Not now.

"They charge you a fuel surcharge when prices are high, and then when they go lower, they don't take the fuel surcharge off," he said.

So like dozens of people who have emailed 9 on Your Side lately, he asked, "Why is it still on there?"

We Go to Rumpke for Answers

So we went to Rumpke, and asked why they continue to have a fuel surcharge when diesel prices are cheap.

Rumpke spokeswoman Amanda Pratt told us the fuel surcharge actually covers many oil-related items, from fuel to tires to motor oil.

"Fuel prices fluctuate," she said, "and this does help us as a transportation company prepare for those extra expenses when they do increase and fluctuate."

She also said when gas prices spike in the summer, they need a way to adjust for that without a long regulatory process.

"If we have a contract with a community, we would have to receive permission to adjust" every time gas prices go up, she explained.

When fuel prices fall, she said, so does your bill. If it were a permanent rate hike, your bill would not come down during times of cheaper fuel.

She said customers are enjoying the lowest surcharge in years.  It was 18 percent of your bill 2 years ago, while now it's just 6% of your bill, a third of what it was at the peak.

You can read current and past surcharges at Rumpke's website.

But homeowners like Mehltretter think it should be even less.

"If gas prices were high, I could understand it," he said. "But they're not, and they haven't been for a while!"

Many other companies, from airlines to delivery firms, also keep a fuel surcharge handy.  That way they can raise rates at a moment's notice when gas prices spike.

As always, don't waste your money.

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