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Nation March 18, 2012 //  by , , ,  // 7 Comments

Fuel costs cause woes

Last year’s gas prices at this time were more than $0.30 lower than current rates.  |  File Photo/The Daily Cougar

Last year’s gas prices at this time were more than $0.30 lower than current rates. | File Photo/The Daily Cougar

As gas prices continue to rise, commuting students are faced with even more stress on how to balance their social life, schoolwork, workload and financial burdens.

“Since I spend so much on gas every week, I try to limit myself from doing things that require driving, like going out with friends because most of my paycheck ends up being used for gas,” said civil engineering sophomore Sarah Eldiraoui, who lives in Katy.

Gasoline prices are higher now than they were a year ago, according to houstongasprices.com — the website that shows the average gas price on any given day compared to a week, a month or a year ago.

On Sunday, the Houston average was $3.78 per gallon while the national average was $3.81. A year ago, the Houston average was $3.41 per gallon, and the national price was $3.54 per gallon.

Crude represents 76 percent of the price consumers pay, so gasoline prices rise as the cost of crude oil rises.

Some students ride a bike, take a bus or carpool to save money. Nick Mead, geophysics and chemistry senior, has been riding a bike for three-and-a-half years for his two-mile commute.

“Let’s say you drive a truck or SUV to campus, you end up paying almost $1000 a year for gas if it stays around three bucks, and you only drive to school and back home. You have to add in all the other places you drive to,” Mead said.

“I generally bike pretty much everywhere else I go in Houston, so I’ve probably saved around $3500 at the low end since I’ve been in college.

That’s paid for my bike and the maintenance and then some.”

Mead said biking also keeps him in great shape, and his commute is rather easy compared to drivers who deal with traffic and parking issues.

“My commute isn’t what you’d expect with biking,” Mead said of his 20 minute trip from his house to class.

“(It) is really good compared to how long it takes people to drive.

“I also can just bike straight to class, I don’t have to drive around looking for a place to park. I’ve saved a bunch of money over three and-a-half years on parking permits too.”

Eldiraoui carpools at least once a week to save money on gas.

“With gas prices the way it is right now, I try carpooling sometimes, but it doesn’t work out everyday,” Eldiraoui said.

“I feel like living on campus would be so much easier.”

Most students are just learning to compromise and make sacrifices in order to maintain their daily routines.

“I drive from (Sugar Land) to get here. I don’t car pool because my schedule is always different. Gas is expensive, but so is school. You gotta bite the bullet sometimes,” said engineering junior Jevani Barron.

Elaine Naong, an English sophomore, never used to drive on the freeway, but the increase in gas prices has caused her to change that because her normal route used more gas.

“The gas prices now really forces us to compromise in ways we’re not going to agree with, like take us out of daily routines we have grown used to,” Naong said.

Stefani Crowe, a public relations junior, lives in Sugar Land and drives to school four days out of the week. She said “the gas increase makes a huge difference.”

Crowe, like many others, tries to avoid taking too many trips that will eat up gas.

“I feel like I am filling up my car with gas at least every four or five days,” Crowe said.

“I try to avoid making pointless trips to the mall or stores in general by just staying at home. It sucks, but you have to make sacrifices somewhere.”

 news@thedailycougar.com

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  • Robert

    Good god I do not miss commuting. Getting stuck on 288 with 100+ degree weather is one nightmare I hope never to experience again. Living on campus is a night and day difference on my stress levels and you guys need to stop cheaping out and live closer, you won't regret it!

    • Mac

      For many of us though, living on or near campus is not an option.

      • Robert

        And why is that? Contrary to popular belief, living on campus is actually quite affordable. I'm paying 4k total for a dorm and a meal plan. Commuters have to worry about 4.00 gas, insurance, car payments, garage passes, the time wasted commuting, and the mental anguish caused by it. Instead of using those 2 hours to drive back and forth from Katy, you could be spending time on campus making friends or doing school work.

        • Mac

          Let me see first I own my own place. Next I work near where I currently live. So when I am not at school I go there. In the case of friends I know of they have relatives who would rather pay for the gas and insurance because it is cheaper than shelling out the the 4k on top of tuition. My borther is the same, he calculated out about sharing an apartment a short drive away and buying his own food was cheaper than staying on campus.

          • Mac

            Also doing the math the towers cost (not including food) is 568 a month (and that is if you had a full 5 months of being there which you are not) to share a room that is the size of most bedrooms in a single room apartment. Then you have to share a common rest room/bathing area to boot.

  • Slick

    Also consider getting to school early before traffic gets bad and study or sleep with the extra time – same thing with evenings, just leave later after traffic has died down. Maybe someone should start a carpool club to help people connect that need to carpool.

  • Catherine

    I think a carpool club would be a great idea. It'd help everyone spend a little less on gas. Even if there isn't one though, there are a bunch of websites that people can use to find a carpool for holidays, weekends, concerts, etc. I'd try us.amovens.com (I've used it before & sometimes they do giveaways of gas gift cards) or zimride.com.

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