With gas prices on the rise, students turn to alternate transportation

Jessica Dreschel

Senior business management major Brandon Murphy pumps $34 worth of gas into his truck at Rich gas station.

Credit: Steve Schirra

Every week and a half, Bruno Zottola pumps $80 of gasoline into his Ford F-150.

But Zottola is not alone.

Skyrocketing gas prices are hurting consumers, but college students with limited budgets may really feel the pain.

“There’s not much I can do,” said Zottola, a sophomore computer science major. “I’m stuck with a big car.”

High gas prices have a much larger effect on college students, said associate economics professor Kathy Wilson. Students earn less money, but they spend roughly the same amount on gas as other consumers.

Prices for regular unleaded gas reached $2.74 per gallon at some gas stations around Kent.

At the outset of price hikes, students will be less likely to change driving habits or use alternative means of transportation, Wilson said. But as students continue to pay more for gasoline, they will begin to find ways to cut costs.

“I usually buy half a tank of gas at a time, but that’s still 20 bucks,” said Amy Boetticher, a senior psychology major.

She also said she plans to walk short distances rather than hopping in her car.

Students may find two-wheeled transportation more economical than driving.

“I don’t have my bike here yet, but I plan on bringing it up soon,” Zottola said.

And there are a few resources that could help provide a less painful pump.

Web sites like Gasbuddy.com track prices at local stations, and visitors can compare prices statewide. According to the Web site, the lowest rate in the Akron area in the last 48 hours, $2.43 a gallon for regular gas, was logged in on Monday evening.

With gas prices predicted to rise dramatically before the end of this week, Wilson said there is one way to save money other than using less gas — get a bike.

Contact business reporter Jessica Dreschel at [email protected].