With gas prices constantly on the rise, students are beginning to feel the impact on their wallets. The national average per tank of gas is closing in on four dollars, and is currently at $3.761. This increase, a result of the multiple revolutions spreading throughout the Middle East, is predicted to continue into the upcoming academic school year.
Students living off campus with cars are feeling the burden more than others. Manager of Transportation Services Bill Horacio thinks that the cost of gas could effect transportation on campus.
“Without a doubt, we anticipate that if gas prices continue to increase that next year some students will no longer be able to afford to drive to campus,” Horacio said. “In 2008 when gas prices increased to close to the $4 mark, traffic movement on campus was leaner.”
When planning expenses for the upcoming academic year, Horacio advises students to arrange for alternative transportation to campus.
“Students should consider all factors when planning their annual expenses and cost of living budget for the year,” Horacio said. “WAT (Williamsburg Area Transport) has a robust system that can get you anywhere in town at no cost. It is already paid for through your transportation fees.”
Horacio thinks that the spike in gas prices will also increase the use of Zipcars on campus.
“I expect to see an increase in Zipcar membership,” Horacio said. “The Zipcar rates are contracted; the rate is set for at least two more years. The weekly and weekend rates include insurance and fuel. This makes Zipcar sharing alterative very promising and affordable for those that choose to leave their cars at home.”
Students are reacting to rising gas prices with less concern.
“I don’t really think this will have a big impact just because people don’t really look at the big picture of how much they are spending,” Aline Le ’12 said. “They just want to satisfy their immediate needs of going to the store.”
Le lives off campus and commutes to school on a regular basis. Although she doesn’t far away, she finds it easier to drive to school.
“It was always a cost for me to drive places,” Le said. “I used to play varsity soccer and drive places for that.
It was never unusual for me to pay more for gas to live off campus.”
Joanna Weeks ’13 moved off campus this year and also has a car. She said she does not feel the rising price of gas as much as other off-campus drivers.
“I bike to school, so I really only drive my car like once a week and usually it’s just been to Trader Joe’s and back,” Weeks said.
Weeks thinks that rising gas prices could make closer off-campus housing more competitive than it already is as a result of increasing gas prices.
“It might change how many people who are living far off,” Weeks said. “Some people are willing to live off if they can drive, but if gas is more expensive it might change how many people are willing to live far away.”
While Weeks recognizes the rising costs, she doesn’t find it to affect her normal routine very much.
“If gas was super super cheap, I might use my car more,” Weeks said.
Le agreed that if there was a housing option closer to campus, she would prefer not having to drive her car.
“If I could go back I would definitely live closer to campus so I wouldn’t have to drive,” Le said.
Lindsey Hundley ’12, another commuting college student, lives at an off-campus apartment near High Street. For her, driving is easier and cuts down time in her busy schedule.
“I haven’t really noticed the changes, but I think it’s because I am so busy,” Hundley said. “While it is easy to walk, I don’t like walking in the rain or bad weather. If I can be off campus with a car then I am going to.”
Currently, the United States imports 40 percent of its crude oil from European countries, which are major importers of crude oil from the Middle East. Oil barrel prices have risen in multiple countries, including Asia in the past couple days as a result of the Libyan revolt.