Once again gas prices spike, affecting people everywhere
The economy is slowly beginning to pick up from where it was two years ago, but in some areas it is suffering worse than ever.
Gas prices are dangerously close to reaching an all-time high, currently sitting at a national average of $3.50 a gallon. Central Texas prices are coming in just under that number, averaging out at about $3.39 a gallon.
Costs are rising much faster than pay increases, and everyone is starting to feel the effects, including students.
“I have to spend about $45-$50 every time I fill up my car,” senior performance major Kimberly Jones said. “I live in Harker Heights and go back and forth to UMHB every day of the week. I also work in Austin parttime, and I go to Killeen to drop off and pick up my son, so I average between 40-60 miles of driving.”
One month ago, when prices were still around $2.80 per gallon, the IRS estimated the cost of gas for an average vehicle to be roughly 50 cents every mile. This basically means that if someone drove 100 miles, it would cost him $50.
Even students who don’t drive much throughout each week are feeling the effects of the increase.
“I only live in Belton, but I still drive at least 30 miles a week,” senior sport management major Brenson Bristow said.
“I drive a truck, so two months ago, when the gas prices were lower, it cost me around $65 to fill up. Now, it costs about $80.”
Bristow said he is noticing his wallet taking serious hits.
“My grocery budget has definitely suffered from the increase. Also, if someplace I want to go is really far away, I won’t go unless I absolutely have to.”
Adjunct French professor Geraldine Touzeau-Patrick lives just outside of Austin. She only teaches at UMHB on Tuesdays and Thursdays which still requires her to drive roughly 200 miles round trip each day she comes to campus.
“When I drive like that for 16 weeks, statistics say that I have to spend $1,600 over the course of a semester,” she said. “And that was back in the fall, when gas was only $2.50 a gallon. At this rate, a third of what I make teaching here is spent on gas getting here.”
Many people are choosing to make fewer and less expensive purchases, and people are also deciding to drive less and walk or bike more when their destination is close.
“It’s crazy that gas went up so much literally overnight,” Jones said. “I’m having to cut some unnecessary items out now …. Usually I’ll go to HEB to buy lunch,” she said, “Now that extra money is just going to gas. Honestly, I can’t really fill up my car all the way. It’s too much to spend every two weeks.”