YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Paramjit Singh says you can tell how poor this neighborhood is by how much – or how little – people spend on gas.
“We get people who come here and spend $3, $2 or $1 on gas because they have no money,” said the manager of Ohio Gas Mart, a gas station and convenience store in the working-class Idora neighborhood of Youngstown. “Sometimes we even have people come in for 50 cents worth of gas.”
“In some parts of the country you can’t even buy less than $1 of gas,” he added. “There aren’t any jobs here, so people have just enough money to buy gas to get to the store and back.”
While we were talking several cars pulled up to fill up with gas, most of them only for a a few dollars worth.
Singh moved to this area about three months ago and said he is not sure how long he will stay.
“We’re considering moving on because this area is not safe and it’s hard to make a living here,” he said. “Unless jobs come here then the situation will not improve.”