Ian Thorn has a full course load this semester along with a part-time job at Starbucks. The Cal Poly Pomona senior, like many other college students, has had to make some sacrifices because of the rising cost of gas.
Though gas prices have affected everyone throughout the state, college students at Cal Poly Pomona have particularly felt the pain at the pump, as a majority of the university’s students commute to campus.
“I feel everyone is getting hit pretty hard by this,” said Thorn, 29. “Just the other day I had to finally fill up, and I ended up paying $92 to fill up my tank, which is crazy. I have been driving for 11 years now, and I have never had to pay anywhere close to that.”
With this spike in gas, students are weighing whether to commute to campus on days in which they only have one class. Cal Poly courses are usually about 50 minutes out of the day.
“Especially adding on paying for parking as well, it is a lot for sure,” said Xandra Garcia, a communication major at Cal Poly Pomona.
“Not only do I have to pay tuition and pay bills, now I have all these gas prices rising,” she added. “For people who work minimum wage jobs, it doesn’t make sense and makes things just tighter for students. Working as a server has sucked because now half of the tip money that I earn goes towards my gas money now.”
Garcia, 23, a junior, said she has considered walking and other forms of transportation.
“If I didn’t have the job that I have now, I would definitely need to be walking or finding another way to travel everywhere in order to try and get to school, work, or wherever,” she said.
Higher inflation in the United States has forced consumers to limit their spending. College students, who often can only work part-time jobs while juggling coursework, are especially hard hit.
“The inflation has helped in making decisions such as do I really need this item, in order to save money,” said Thorn. “I still buy the stuff I need, but saving money has been extremely difficult. Every paycheck, I maybe get myself two things which are usually smaller.”
Some students said Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed decision to offer $400 rebate payments for all California registered vehicle owners offers some hope to ease the pain.
Still, the costs of many goods and services do not look like they will ease anytime soon, which may worry many students who are on a budget.
“I can rarely save money now, it’s scary,” Thorn said.