Sharp uptick in prices at pump affect campus
According to columbiagasprices.com, Columbia's average cost of unleaded gas is $3.34 per gallon, just above the state's average of $3.32. Fortunately, Columbia and South Carolina both fall under the national average of $3.44. This is "the steepest one-week rise since Hurricane Katrina disrupted oil production in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005," according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. One year ago Columbia's average unleaded gas price was $2.54, and the nation's average was $2.70. Currently, crude oil costs $101.94 per barrel.
"It's definitely frustrating because I'll have to fill up four or five times in a week," said third-year broadcastjournalism student Cameron Widerman. He plans on making a 10-hour drive to his home in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Widerman said that rising gas prices will be adding to his already expensive break.
"It's going to limit how many road trips I can do and how much money I can spend," Widerman said.
Even people who do not drive are feeling the increasing costs of gas. Brandon Lofele, a first-year political science student, plans on carpooling to nearby Charleston.
"Honestly, [the increase of gas] makes it harder to go to places," he said. "I'll have to save money since I don't have a job. Every buck counts for me."
The Jasmine Revolution occurring in Arabic countries, most recently Libya, have been cited as one of the causes pushing the sudden increase of gas. The prices are inconveniencing USC employees in addition to students.
"Naturally, I don't like it," said Frank Mitchell, a maintenance technician for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Mitchell commutes from Aiken to USC every day, so he says he cannot cut back on gas.
"There's no control over it," Mitchell said. "So are we in control of our own destiny?"
Lofele said it is "irritating" that other countries affect the gas bill.
"It's weird people we don't even know have such an effect on us on a daily scale," Mitchell said.
But not everyone is just focused on gas prices. Jasmine Whelan, a fourth-year international studies student who plans on traveling to Virginia and then New York, said that she supports the revolutions.
"We need to be concerned more about democracy than rising gas prices," she said. "We have to pay more, obviously, but it will be worth it."