Increased fuel costs impact CSUN students

Melissa Simon

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In January, many people were wondering when gas prices would stop climbing and stabilize before hitting $4 per gallon. The answer came in February, when prices continued to climb instead of evening out or lowering.

According to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, a comprehensive nationwide fuel price survey, the record high for gas prices, recorded in 2008, was nearly $4.63 per gallon. Prices seem to be heading back there again, with the current price for Los Angeles County at $4.32.

Last month, there was no way to predict prices or know whether they would stabilize, said Marie Montgomery, spokesperson for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

“We can only go on what we’ve seen in previous years: prices go up about 20 to 50 percent in the spring, plateau in the summer and then bump up again in winter and fall and drop around the holidays,” Montgomery said.

Dr. Bettina Huber, director of CSUN’s Institutional Research, expects that everyone at CSUN commutes.

“I expect that virtually all faculty and staff commute to CSUN on a daily basis, but have no data to back that up,” Huber said. “With the exception of students who live in campus housing, I expect that most students also commute.”

With gas prices experiencing their “spring bump,” students and professors alike at CSUN are feeling the strain on their wallets.

Kimberly Hedrick, an anthropology professor, lessens the amount of money she spends on gas by minimizing the amount of time she drives.

“I put all my errands on one day and do the most time and gas efficient loop, or I run errands when I am on the way to or from work,” she said.

This is just one way to combat the rising prices. Another way to spend less on gas is to carpool with your classmates or someone that lives nearby but may not be in your class.

Rafael Esquivel, senior electrical engineering major, says he carpools every time he comes to school.

“I carpool from Palmdale, which is about an hour away,” Esquivel said. “I have to put at least $30 worth of gas in [my car] at least once every other day.”

Students such as Amanda Williams, a freshman CTVA major, doesn’t commute quite that far, but she still has to wrestle with gas prices.

“I pretty much don’t go anywhere except work and school,” Williams said. “I try to walk to the store when I can, but it can be hard to do that.”

Still others, such as freshman psychology major Aracely Anaya, look for more creative ways to save money on gas. Anaya is one of many that commute up to 40 miles a day just to come to school.

“When I have to get gas, I try to look for gas stations that are farther away from the freeway or hidden because the gas is usually less,” she said. “The closer you get to the freeway, the crazier it gets.”

Despite her trick of looking for hidden gas stations, Anaya still looks for the cheapest price.

“It doesn’t matter where the gas is from, I still get whatever gas is the cheapest,” she said.

Williams, on the other hand, gets her gas at the 76 station because she has a gas card and puts regular gas in her car to keep it going.

Esquivel, unlike Williams and Anaya, prefers quality to quantity.

“I have done my research and I know that the gas from Shell and Chevron tends to be better for your car,” said Esquivel. “It’s better for your engine and when your engine goes, it costs more to replace.”

Whether students choose quality over quantity, it is clear that they are looking for the best deal they can get to keep their cars running.


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