NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Small-business owners with fuel as a major expense are being forced these days to get more efficient. And most say that's not a bad thing.
Surging gas prices have topped the news for weeks as gas prices have crept toward $4 a gallon, with some bearish experts speculating we could see $5 per gallon by the summer.
The unrest in the Middle East, causing crude oil to top $100 a barrel, as well as the United States' reluctance to so far tap its strategic reserves, has been hitting consumers and large and small businesses in the gut.
But several small businesses say that as much as soaring gas prices cut into the bottom line, they're doing everything they can not to raise prices -- yet.
Those initiatives include routing optimization, using more fuel efficient cars and trucks, considering other fuel alternatives and, in at least one case, using hedges to offset rising costs.
"It definitely makes us look at every line item on the balance sheet and where we can trim," says Melissa Adelaine-Supernault, a partner and project coordinator at Michigan's Adelaine Construction. "It's constantly a balancing act. [We're] being as efficient as we can, but not jeopardizing our offerings to our customers."
TheStreet spoke with five small companies for which fuel is a major expense and asked how they're handling the problem.