Gas prices affect road-tripping students

By James Vanderberg

With gas prices continuing to hover around the $3 mark, many students have been forced to re-evaluate their driving priorities.

However, while most students have altered their habits slightly, most won’t let it get in the way of a time-honored college tradition: the road trip.

Though the price may be high, most students seem willing to shell out cash to visit their friends at other schools.

“It’s kind of expensive, but I think it’s worth it,” said Pat Randonis, a sophomore at Northern Illinois University visiting friends in Champaign this weekend.

Still, most students admit they are not traveling as much as they might if gas prices were cheaper.

“It’s hard to go as often as I like with gas being so expensive, but I still manage to get around,” said Ian Gustafson, a junior at Augustana College also at the University this weekend.

Gas prices have also affected where students go to fill up. For Randonis, who is originally from Chicago, high gas prices usually mean a trip to the suburbs when he is at home. When he is at school in DeKalb, he said he still searches around for the lowest price, even if it means wasting gas while finding it.

Gustafson agrees, and said he often waits to fill up until he gets outside of cities.

“Gas was at least 10 cents cheaper on (Interstate 90) than it was in Rockford, Ill. … It always seems to work like that,” he said.

Going with a group to split the cost of gas is nothing new, but it has become something of a necessity for Randonis lately.

“If I was driving by myself with nobody helping me pay for gas, I’d probably think twice about going on a trip,” Randonis said.

Although many students are not letting high gas prices get in the way of visiting friends, most admit they have cut back on driving while at school.

Although Oliver Siy, senior in LAS, does not pay for his own gas, he still tries to drive as little as possible.

“I don’t really like to drive and I only use my car when necessary, but I still cringe when gas is $3.29 … I feel a little guilty using my car even as little as I do,” Siy said.

For Gustafson and Randonis, high gas prices have led to a consolidation of errands and minimal driving at school.

“I also only go back home when I have absolutely have to,” Randonis said.

For many students, cutting back on the small trips leaves more gas and money for the bigger ones.

“(The price of) gas just determines how much spending money I have when I’m there,” said Gustafson. “They aren’t going to keep me from going.”