High Gas Prices Affecting The Pockets of CSUDH Studentscsudhbulletin April 13, 2022 0 COMMENTS
Unprecedented gas prices have hurt all Americans, especially students. But the school offers help. Photo by Nis Guzman in LA county.
By Nis Guzman, Staff Reporter.
Gas prices skyrocketed in February and March reaching as high as $6.95 per gallon of regular unleaded fuel in Los Angeles County. According to the American Automotive Association, the average price per gallon in California has gone up nearly two dollars from a year ago. This is due in part to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the sanctions placed on Russia as one of the world’s biggest producers of oil.
In an unprecedented move designed to help drivers, California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a relief package that could send auto-owners $400 per registered vehicle and provide three months of free public transportation.
“It’s nice, but the state needs to address the root of the problem; the cost of gas, not provide stimulus,” said Chase Laurence, a Torrance resident, about the governor’s proposal.
The sudden rise in prices has also led to emergency grants for California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) students, who have lost their medium of transportation. In an email sent out by faculty to students, CSUDH students are encouraged to apply for a grant that can be worth between $200 and $1,000. The funding for this grant was provided by donations from CSUDH faculty, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members, according to a statement from the school.
CSUDH students have been among the most affected, as the university holds one of the biggest commuter populations in the CSU system and in California. The majority of students commute to campus from home and work. Given the vastness of Los Angeles County, many students continue to travel and spend a great amount of time in their cars. Students have felt no choice but to pay the high prices of gas since in-person classes have returned to CSUDH after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 forcing classes to go virtual.
“I spend about $60 a week to fill up my tank,” said CSUDH student Stuart Mendoza, owner of a Toyota Rav-4. “It’s a lot [of money] but I have to drive to class and work”.
Hybrid and all-electric (EVS) vehicles have helped mitigate the impact on their owners’ wallets. “[Prices] are still high but I have a hybrid and I just go back and forth to school, it’s an extra expense but not extreme,” said CSUDH student, Arrianna Lister.
Drivers who own large utility vehicles have felt the biggest financial impact. Laurence spends $202 to fill up his Chevy Silverado. He relies on his truck for work and a more fuel-efficient vehicle is not an option for him.
“I use my truck to frequently tow things. There are no EV or Hybrid equivalents on the market that have that much towing capacity”, said Laurence.
The high cost of gas is also affecting other industries. Food delivery services such as Uber Eats is currently charging customers a “Temporary Fuel Surcharge” to help drivers with their gas expense.
This has led UberEats customers like Joseph Goodrich to use the service less frequently. “[I use the service] typically once per week, used to be about three,” said Goodrich.
Since the average price per gallon of gas peaked at $6.07 in California in late March, according to data from AAA, prices have come down every day since and currently stand at $5.76.
In March, President Biden authorized the release of one million reserve barrels of oil every day for the next six months. According to the press release, the intention of this is to “provide a historic amount of supply to serve as a bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up”.
Students in need of financial support can apply for the emergency grant here.
Video by Dylan A. Bryant