Jose Hernandez | The Poly Post

Petroleum pandemic: How increases in gas prices affect campus commuters

By Joseph Rodriguez, October 3, 2023

The average price of gas in Los Angeles County shot up to $6 a gallon Tuesday, Sept. 19, with the spike in gas prices contributing to financial challenges for commuting students at Cal Poly Pomona.

Many students who commute to CPP are more at risk to facing financial difficulties due to the increase in gas and this includes constantly having to fill up their gas tank. As the prices reach a new high, students may have to seek more creative methods for getting to campus.

Natnael Abraham, a business administration student, weighed in on some different approaches he will take when arriving at CPP due to the rising gas prices.

One of the largest misconceptions about gas prices going up is the government has any input in how the prices fluctuate. For example, many residents of California tend to blame state politicians such as Gov. Gavin Newsom for price hikes in gas, which happens to be far from the truth.

Craig McLaren, a lecturer of economics at CPP, shared some possible reasons why gas prices go up.

“It is a complicated issue and finding the exact causes is very difficult,” said McLaren. “Still, some possible causes could be if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, has cut their product supply from overseas and whether or not there are problems with the distribution process of oil to the United States.”

Jose Hernandez | The Poly Post

California, a state known for its high cost of living, sits at number one in average gas prices nationwide. With a statewide average of $5.79 per gallon, college students in the state are finding it difficult to keep up.

As stated by McLaren, based on the economic market and the forces of supply and demand, gas prices fluctuate. The prices of oil that go toward refineries end up determining how much gas is at the pump. However, this does not exactly determine why gas is so much more expensive in L.A. county relative to other areas of the country.

Students that are part of the CPP community have considered going to cheaper gas stations and even carpooling together. Others also expressed how escalating gas prices change their daily routine of going to school.

Analeese Maravilla, a liberal studies student, weighed in on how her driving habits may have to change because of the increase in prices.

“I live close to campus so it’s not too bad, but when it comes to going farther distances, I’m gonna have to start filling up more constantly,” said Maravilla.

Many students’ pockets will be drained from their costly drives to the school. The local Chevron gas station off of W. Temple Avenue is already being avoided by students because of its abnormally high gas prices. The current prices at this location range from $6.99 to $7.39.

With California’s economy and average costs growing rapidly, the recent price hike can trend upward very soon. As stated by McLaren, future markets along with investors buying up oil have the potential to cause more shifts in the prices of gas.

Students at CPP, will have to wait and see how the market fluctuates so they can have lowered stress on the amount they drive and parking lots on campus may even become more vacant due to changes in student driving habits.

Feature Image Courtesy of Joseph Rodriguez

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