With the high cost of college tuition and books, some college students are spending more money than their budgets can allow on gas.
CSUN student Arpine Tarverdyan drives her four-door Lexus from Glendale to CSUN four days a week, and spends more than $70 a week on gas. The 18-year-old freshman plans to quit her part-time job at Express in the Glendale Galleria because the majority of her paycheck goes toward gas, she said.
“(There’s) no point for me to work,” Tarverdyan said.
The cost of gas has become a talked-about topic throughout the country, and Associated Students is also trying to help lower the amount of money students spend on gas by offering discounts on public transportation tickets for students and faculty.
A.S. sells discounted tickets for Metrolink and monthly MTA bus passes. Students, faculty and staff can save $22 a month on bus passes if purchased through the A.S. ticket office, which is located in the University Student Union. The discounted price for a monthly bus pass is $30.
Kenneth Etter, director of the A.S. ticket office, said he does not believe students have yet realized how much the high gas prices are affecting their pocketbooks.
“I think it’s important that the university provides a place where students can go to access alternative transit,” Etter said.
Students can purchase tickets at the ticket office with valid student identification, and discounts for the Metrolink vary depending on the destination.
Bus passes have been available at the A.S. ticket office for more than nine years.
The A.S. ticket office, however, recently took over the sale of Metrolink tickets, which was previously sold in the A.S. Accounting office in Bayramian Hall, formerly the Student Services Building.
A.S. exists in order to help serve students, and its members want students to be aware of the transportation alternatives that are available to them, according to David Crandall, A.S. general manager.
Students must apply to receive discounted bus passes. The application can be picked up in the University Student Union and is usually processed within two to four weeks. Applications are submitted at six various locations located throughout Los Angeles.
Public transportation in general helps the environment and makes it easier for students to get to school and get an education, he said.
There has been a dramatic increase in the cost of gasoline and it is becoming a challenge for people to drive when facing high gas prices, Crandall said.
According to the Department of Energy Information Administration, the average price for regular gas in California during the week of Oct. 10 was $2.96 per gallon. Gas prices have risen 63 percent in California since October 2004, according to the DEIA.
A wide range of factors contribute to the final price of gasoline, according to BP spokesperson Scott Dean.
“Gasoline depends on the availability of supply and consumer demand,” Dean said. “Currently the demand for gasoline is exceeding the supply because supply has been disrupted by the recent hurricanes.”
Gayaneh Hakopian, director of environmental affairs for A.S., said she encourages alternative transportation usage to save gas money.
“Gas prices are not going to go down and people are always going to drive,” Hakopian said. “This year I want to encourage people to use other alternatives like vegetable oil.”
Vegetable oil is just as effective as petroleum gas, according to Hakopian. It burns the same as regular gas and is cleaner for the environment, she said.
Students can benefit from taking public transportation, Etter said.
Students who take advantage of public transportation can use their time efficiently by studying and completing homework assignments while on the bus instead of wasting time stuck in traffic, according to Etter.
But students might have to give up a little of their independence when riding the bus or taking the train, he said.
“The truth is we would like to always have our cars with us at all times,” Etter said. “However, we can’t always afford it anymore.”
Valencia Bankston can be reached at email@example.com.