Gas price increase affects students, campus services

by Carl Benskin

With gas prices staying above $2, students are coming up with creative ways to save money.

Junior Jamie Scott is a commuter, but has adapted to the prices. Scott said she usually spends about $30 on gas per week driving to classes.

“I carpool with friends and we take turns driving different weeks,” Scott said.

Freshman Josie Rundlett said that high gas prices have kept her on campus, which has allowed her to get to know campus better. Social events and campus-sponsored activities are just a few things she attends on the weekend.

“[Campus Activities Board] sponsors things that keep me on campus,” Rundlett said.

Rundlett said the high gas prices have altered her plans and that has meant things like carpooling with friends and not driving anywhere alone.

While a few students have been changing their habits, many students aren’t. Simpson has been trying to balance its gas prices and labor costs.

Bart Lane, director of campus services, said that Simpson owns 14 trucks and vans that use unleaded gas and eight mowers, four of which use diesel.

In the past Simpson has had an on-site tank for gas, but because the Physical Plant moved this past summer, the vehicles are relying on fueling stations in Indianola.

Lane said the rise in prices means a tighter budget all around. In combination with rising utility costs, Lane is considering all the options for cutting back costs.

“We’re not trying anything specific, but one of the things that we try do is eliminate repeat trips,” Lane said.

Simpson uses an average of 11,000 gallons of fuel a year. Last year the college bought gas for $1.96, but Lane expects it to be about $2.60 a gallon this time around.

All in all, the total gas costs for the college averaged $24,000 a year. However, with rising costs, Lane estimated the price to be around $30,000 for the 2005-06 school year.

To save on gas, recommends replacing air filters regularly, keeping tires properly inflated, using a proper grade of oil and observing the speed limit to help with using gas efficiently.