Gas Price Surge Affects Commuter Students

By FARAH FARHAT

An increase in gas prices has caused commuter students to be thriftier with how they use their cars.

The gas prices in Fredericksburg stood around the high $2 range before winter break. When students returned in mid-January, prices increased to the high $3 range.

Candace Rothermel, a sophomore psychology major, lives on campus and has a car, which she pays for herself.

Rothermel says the increased gas prices have made her a smarter shopper.

“I like to look at the prices of a few different gas stations before I decide where I want to fill my car,” she said. “With gas prices so high I just want to make sure I’m always getting the best deals even though I feel like I never am.”

Rothermel tried to find an off-campus job to compensate for her expenses. With the increase in gas prices she had to consider how much she would be making at her job, how much it would cost her to drive to her job, and if the end result was worth it.

With gas above $3, it seemed impossible for her to find a job that would cover the commute charges and compensate for her hard work.

“Although I love having my car, paying for it these days has kept me on a tight budget,” said Rothermel.

In order to keep her car, Rothermel has learned to minimize using it by making trips only when necessary and walking as much as possible.

Taylor Stuger, a senior geography major, lives off-campus and has a car in order to commute to Springfield. On average, Stuger says she spends $30 a week on gas, and that she never completely filled her car because of how much more it would seem that she is paying.

Struger includes how much she pays for gas into how much she pays for tuition, and thought that by living off-campus she would be saving money.

“To an extent I am saving money by living off-campus because I do not have to pay the higher school fees, but that the money I am saving is just being spent on filling up my car so I’m not really saving much at all,” said Struger.

Like Rothermel, Struger also said that she became much more thrifty with gas price increases by shopping around for the best deals. If gas continued to go up she said she would quit her job or relocate if possible.

The gas price increase has also affected other UMW students. Neome Gangi, a sophomore psychology major, pays close to $5,000 a year on gas commuting from her home in Washington, D.C.

On average, she pays $75.00 a week to fill her car but with the fluctuating gas prices the cost for her continues to jump.

“My dad pays for my gas and does not keep track on how much he is paying each time I have to fill up my car,” said Gangi.

Gangi continued to express how fortunate she was that her father did pay for her traveling expenses, but if gas prices continued to increase she would try and get a job that would help with the cost.

The increase in gas prices has students like Rothermel, Stuger, and Gangi on the edge about how they will continue to afford their cars. Finding a job is an option, but holding a job just to fill up their cars does not seem worth the cost to many students.

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