Commuters feel gas price pinch
Posted April 11, 2008

Maxtla Benavides
Staff Writer

The increase in gas prices has caused University of La Verne students to budget their already limited funds, and for some to find alternative means of transportation.

With a state average price of $3.68 for the lowest octane, commuting students and employees find the drive to La Verne more burdensome than ever before.

“As a commuter I spend a lot of money on gas and food but with the current increase of gas, I literally have to choose from eating or putting gas in my car,” said Claudia Gonz­alez, a senior business major.

There has been a 42-cent increase at the pump since this time last year and there is speculation that gas prices are still on their way up.

“Gas prices for commuters are really expensive, especially if they have a long drive,” said Gonzalez, who commutes from Glendale, spending an estimated $240 a month on gasoline.

She said she has been putting a lot of effort into trying to budget her money and finding that happy medium that will help her afford gas.

On April 1 truck drivers across the nation went on strike to protest the fact that diesel fuel had crossed the $4 a gallon mark.

Independent truck drivers buy their own fuel and are spending an estimated $700 to $3,000 a week.

Like many ULV students who pay for their own gas, Elisa Reyna, a senior psychology major, sometimes chooses not to come to school.

“It is difficult when you’re a full-time student having two jobs and being a mother, having to decide if the long drive to La Verne is worth being short on money,” Reyna said.

Reyna commutes to La Verne from Los Angeles four days a week.

The money she is currently spending on gas takes away from her child and family.

“It is hard when I really have to save a lot more money than what I usually do,” Reyna said.

In 1999, the United States paid $20 a barrel for oil.

Today, that price is around $101 per barrel.

The increase in gas prices is not only affecting commuters around the nation, but it is also taking a toll on the U.S. economy, driving up the costs of consumer goods causing spending patterns to change.

All of this has also affected many psychologically.

“This current issue has made me stress out more than what I expected,” Gonzalez said. “The idea of having to budget my money and schoolwork just is a burden on me.”

The crude oil market conditions are based on the consumption of oil and the production capacity.

Prices usually increase when the world crude oil market tightens and lowers inventories.

At times the growing demand can outpace the refinery capacity.
Deborah Zexter, an attorney and part time professor at ULV, has certainly been affected by rising in gas prices.

Zexter commutes one day a week to La Verne from west Los Angeles but that one day makes a significant difference to her tank.

“One trip from La Verne to Los Angeles and back, takes one quarter of a tank,” Zexter said.

Many commuters are rethinking ways they can drive less and save money.

“I do not drive as much as I used to, I really think before I travel and see if the drive is actually necessary,” Zexter said.

Zexter said she used to spend $40 a month on gas.

Now she said that she spends that same amount in just one week.

Zexter saves money on gas by not taking double routes to run errands.

She specifically checks which route she will take and sees how many things can get accomplished by one single commute.

Students and faculty members should consider investing in bicycles, which are not only affordable but offer many health benefits.

The Metrolink train and Foothill Transit buses are alternate ways to make commutes more convenient and affordable.

These forms of public transportation also help people avoid the stress of dealing with traffic.

They also save money towards gas, parking and car insurance.

The Foothill Transit local travel monthly pass costs $66.

The Sliver Streak discount is offered to students for $48.

The price of the Metrolink monthly pass varies depending on the length of the trip, but can be determined using the fare calculator at www.metrolinktrains.com.

The cheapest gas in La Verne as of Thursday, can be found at the Shell station at 1947 D St., at Arrow Highway, for $3.69.

To find the cheapest gas in your area, log onto www.gasbuddy.com

Maxtla Benavides can be reached at mbenavides@ulv.edu.

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