Nate Macay | The Poly Post

As gas prices surge, students look for alternative transportation

By Nate Macay, Oct. 18, 2022

As many continue to head back on the road, gas prices are continuing to surge in Southern California. On Oct. 4, the average gas price in the Los Angeles area reached $6.41 a gallon which resulted in a 96 cent increase according to AAA.

Last year the average price for a gallon of gas in California was below $4.50. For students who commute to Cal Poly Pomona, the recent surge in gas prices has impacted in their daily lives.

“It’s definitely been difficult,” said Diana Guzman, computer science student. “I find myself prioritizing my gas instead of healthy foods sometimes. Now I mainly just focus on gas for my expenses.”

In California, there is a special blend of fuel that is designed to reduce pollution during the summer. According to Richard Willson, a professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, the summer fuel is only made in California and the cost of refining in the state to meet clean air standards is one of the reasons behind the high gas prices.

Willson added that there is a winter formulation that will replace the one used in the summer, which will more than likely bring down the cost of gas in the future because it isn’t made only in California.

The war going in Ukraine has made a huge impact in the supply of oil, with Russia being a major supplier in oil. Willson also said due to Saudi Arabia reducing their oil production has been a key factor in the recent surge.

According to Willson, CPP can help students tackle these surging gas prices by reducing classes from four days a week to three days which is a question for campus leaders to think about.

“In the short run it can decrease demand for gas,” said Willson. “It would be good for the environment, and it would save students money. So, if we can help students out then we could have them drive to campus less often.”

While students continue to navigate around the surging gas prices, alternative transportation options are available for getting to and from campus. Department of history Professor and Co-Chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee, John Lloyd, talked about the options where students can save money.

“First is the Class Pass program,” said Lloyd. “All CPP students can pick up a free Foothill Transit Class Pass in the ASI Games Room in the BSC. This pass allows you to ride any Foothill Transit bus for free. It’s a great program that saves students money. Second is the Silver Streak pilot service to CPP that we hope will start in 2023. It’s really going to make transit a viable alternative for more students and your Class Pass lets you ride for free.”

Nate Macay | The Poly Post

When it comes to safety while taking public transportation, Lloyd was able to touch on the concern regarding harassment.

“Taking transit for the first time can be intimidating,” said Lloyd. “I recommend taking a buddy with you on your first couple of rides. Once you see that it isn’t so bad, hopefully those fears will be greatly reduced.”

For concerns about cleanliness, Lloyd also mentioned that the Foothill Transit buses are well-ventilated and generally very clean. Foothill Transit has also won national awards for the cleanliness of their buses.

According to Lloyd, prior to the pandemic, the ASI offered a Transit Ambassador program, the committee is working to partner with them to reintroduce it in the future. Lloyd also mentioned that there is talk of having a student-run bike shop on campus to reduce our campus greenhouse gas emissions.

Feature image by Nate Macay

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