The price of commuting

Commuters choose to pay the extra expense of gas to live off campus. 

President of Commuter & Off-Campus Student Organization (COSO) LeAnn Frank has to fill up her tank every week.

“No matter what the gas price changes are I still think it’s a lot cheaper than living on campus,” Frank said. “If the gas prices go up I’ll still only pay maybe a third of what a dorm room would cost.”

COSO offers community events, advice and support for any commuter-related issues. Frank advises fellow commuters to set aside part of their pay every week to budget for gas.

Ohio’s gas prices have increased by 10.5 cents for every gallon as of July, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

“The region is likely to see gas prices remain mostly stable or trend cheaper, except for the typical volatility seen in some states,” an AAA East Central news release said.

Jared Phillips, a freshman anthropology major, commutes from Cuyahoga Falls every day.

“I have a 16-gallon tank and it costs me between $40 and $60 depending on how pricey gas is,” Phillips said. 

Each month can cost up to $160 in gas as he fills his tank once per week. Despite morning traffic, Phillips likes that commuting saves more money than living on campus.

“I budget for everything,” Phillips said. “Every two weeks when my paycheck comes out, I take out $80 for two weeks and put it in my savings.”

Junior accounting major Casey Greenwald lives about 10 minutes away in Stow. Because he lives close, he does not have to pay for gas as often.

“I will come to campus once and I will not leave until everything is done,” Greenwald said. “I will hang out for hours because I do not like going back and forth.”

Greenwald appreciates his daily drives as a commuter. He takes the time to think and listen to music. To budget, Greenwald keeps $100 in his account so that he can pay for gas each month.

Senior musical theatre major Ally Massey lives just three minutes from campus.

“My car has bad gas mileage, but I find myself not using a lot of gas now that I live very close,” she said.

Massey has one class per day but works on campus. 

“I usually go home once a day, come back, and then go home again,” Massey said.

Massey is on campus for a total of six days a week. Last year, she lived about 15 minutes from campus. Her monthly gas expense went up to $150. This semester, she pays just $50 for gas per month. She does not budget for gas as it is not her greatest expense.

AAA Gas Prices puts Ohio’s average price for regular gas around $2.60.

Minimum wage students working about 20 hours per week will make around $684 each month before taxes.

Filling a 15-gallon tank twice monthly requires students to budget $80 each month in gas expenses alone.

To pay for gas, most students will have to set aside a little more than 10 percent of their monthly income.

Contact Hannah Gooch at [email protected].