The Summer Months
By Chris Higgs
First it was $2.00 a gallon. Then it was $3.00 a gallon. Now fuel is over $3.50 a gallon with more price hikes in sight. It is official. The days of filling up the gas tank with 20 bucks are over.
Fuel consumers across the nation are feeling the pain of costly gasoline and more so a withering wallet. According to www.CNN.com, the average price of regular fuel (87 octane) nationwide is $3.51 per gallon. Furthermore, CNN cites an American Automobile Association (AAA) study showing California has the most expensive fuel across the country at $3.86 per gallon. Diesel fuel is already well over $4.00 per gallon, straining truckers and pick-up truck drivers alike.
Coming back a little closer to home, Westminster is a little higher than the national average. After a survey of the area around the McDaniel campus, the cheapest regular fuel can be found at Sheetz at $3.53 per gallon. The most expensive regular fuel can be found at the Exxon station on Route 140, hammering the wallet at $3.65 per gallon.
Many students have their cars on campus for the thrill of transportation freedom. However, the increasing fuel prices are creating more problems for the students making the automobile more of a hindrance than a help.
Junior Terrence McDermott expresses his disappointment in escalating fuel prices. “I didn’t have my car on campus at the beginning of the semester, but now that I do, I’m dropping at least 30 bucks on gas a week just to get around. It makes saving money hard,” said McDermott.
How are other people reacting to the skyrocketing prices? Many people are trying to carpool more frequently and use public transportation. Others are ditching their sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks for smaller cars and hybrid vehicles.
According to CBS News, SUV sales have decreased by 28 percent while sub-compact car sales have increased by 32 percent. More people are deserting the desire for flash and power while settling for a vehicle that is a little more fuel economy-friendly.
Junior Tim McTernan contemplates exchanging his SUV for something a little easier on the gas and wallet. “It just costs too much to keep my [SUV] on the road. My parents and I are thinking about trading it in on something smaller when I get home for the summer,” said McTernan.
With prices expected to reach $4.00 per gallon and higher over the summer, the general public will just have to wait and see how high costs will go. With warmer weather well on its way, walkers and cyclists will likely increase, as well as carpooling, public transportation and the use of alternating drivers.
Until we see any changes or a decrease in fuel costs, one question remains in mind: will it ever end?