Increased gas prices affect college students’ budgets

Rhiannon Branch/The News

Story by Paige Effinger, Contributing writer 

The destruction of Hurricane Harvey caused the company that supplies fuel to the southeast, Colonial Pipeline, to shut down, reflecting in a huge spike in gas prices.

In Murray, gas prices are averaging about $2.58 per gallon. Before Colonial shut down, gas prices were between $2.20 and $2.30.

The pipeline starts in Houston, Texas, and carries gas throughout areas eastward of Texas, including Murray. Because of Hurricane Harvey, the facilities were not safe enough to operate, and company officials were forced to close down their services for a limited period of time.

According to an article on CNN, this pipeline has two main lines that together transport more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, heating oil and aviation fuel throughout the East Coast.

Colonial Pipeline was not the only oil refinery company that was affected by the tropical storm. According to the CNN article, Harvey closed down about one fifth of the nation’s refineries. However, the prices are still almost 30 cents higher than they were a month ago when prices were at a steady $2.25 per gallon.

This sudden rise in prices has affected many students who are living on a strict college budget. One student, Jessica Tillson, junior from Sharpe, Kentucky, drives to and from Paducah, Kentucky, every weekend to visit friends and family.

While it used to cost Tillson only $25 to fill up her tank, she said it now costs her around $40 to fill it up. Tillson said she would rather spend the added $15 on other things like groceries.

“I have reduced my driving and only go to and from the university,” Tillson said.

Another student, Jacob Woosley, senior from Trenton, Illinois, is student teaching at Marshall County High School, which he said  the 30 minute drive every day becomes taxing to a student with a limited budget.

Woosley said it normally costs under $35 to fill up his tank but now it costs over $40.

Student teachers like Woosley have to pay to do their student teaching, and also have to pay to get there.

“Being a student is expensive enough, so it made me realize that commuting students are really feeling the impact of the rising prices,” he said.