Gas prices climb back up


Mackenzie Lawrence photo

Gas prices posted to the Royal Farms on Route 50 on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.

Mackenzie Lawrence, Co-Editor

In February, we thought that the price of gas was too high for a student who typically only works a minimum wage, part-time job – especially for some students who have a longer commute to school five days a week.

Now, it is a whole different story. Though there has been some relief recently, the price of a gallon of gas is starting to climb once again.

Earlier this year, in February, gas prices started to skyrocket, with the price of gas as high as $3.59 locally. Now, this price seems relatively low compared to what society has battled over the last several months.

For students at Stephen Decatur High School, factors like going to school, hanging out with friends, picking up younger siblings, and much more play a part in how often they have to refuel. Students can spend anywhere between $30 to $120 for a tank of gas.

Senior Olivia Donovan, who drives a 2011 Kia Sorento, said it costs her an estimated $50 for her to fill up her gas all the way from empty to full.

To pay for it, she said she works throughout the school year, around one day a week. Since she only works enough hours to have enough money to afford gas each week, Donovan explained that the money in her bank account is not necessarily decreasing, it is just staying the same.

“It’s really expensive, so I just pay as much as I can and then I go to the next week,” Donovan said when explaining how she has adjusted the way she pays for gas since the price has increased.

Riley Calloway, a senior, drives a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado. It costs him approximately $100 to fill his tank up all the way but he tends to fill it up when he still has a quarter of gas still in his tank.

According to Calloway, he only spends his money on gas and would take turns driving to work with his cousin during the summer so they could save as much money as they could for gas.

Although these students have it hard with their commute to and from school daily, students who commute to Worcester Technical High School or Wor-Wic Community College halfway throughout the school day have it much harder.

Senior Kameron Harris commutes daily to Worcester Technical High School for the last two periods of the school day. Students have the option of riding busses to and from the school, which most students take advantage of, but Harris chooses to drive his own car because he plays sports.

By playing a sport, students sometimes have to leave school early to go to games but for students who attend Worcester Technical High School during the afternoon, there is no provided transportation for them to get back to Stephen Decatur High School early.

On average, it costs Harris at least $100 to fill up his 2013 Ram 1500. Harris says that he is appreciative that the cost of gas has decreased since this past summer but he still is not pleased with the price for gas currently. According to Harris, it cost him around $140 to fill up his tank during the summer which put a significant dent in his bank account.

This year, Stephen Decatur High School has implemented a program where students can take online courses from Wor-Wic Community College in the media center. Many students have chosen this path not only for the convenience of not having to leave the school, but also to save money on gas.

“I don’t have a suitable car to take to Salisbury everyday and it would cost so much more if I had to go twice a week so my parents and I decided that online was probably the best option even though I would rather do in person,” senior Kora Ketner said.

Ketner drives a 2002 Chevrolet Suburban and it costs her anywhere from $100 to $120 to fill up. In order to pay for gas and other personal needs, she works two to four days a week on top of going to school five days a week.

Living 20 to 25 minutes away from school, Ketner tries not to leave school early, even though she doesn’t have a fifth-period class because she has to pick up her brothers.

Junior Kalli Nordstrom spends about $60 to $70 to fill up her 2014 Jeep Rubicon. When explaining the reason she chose to do online dual enrollment, she said “For one, I just didn’t want to drive all the way there when there was an option to be here and spending money on gas to go there and back every single day would be too much because I feel like I don’t make enough money to have the ability to spend that much money on gas.”

On the other hand, senior Willa Novelli is only present at Decatur for her first period class, which gives her the opportunity to attend Wor-Wic Community College twice per week.

“After having to do virtual learning online because of COVID, I didn’t want to have to stare at a screen any more than I had to. Also, in person learning is more effective for me,” Novelli said.

Owning a 2006 Toyota Highlander that costs approximately $55 to fill up around once per week, the cost of commuting to Wor-Wic Community College two days a week adds up fast for Novelli.

“The gas prices have certainly been an inconvenience to my bank account mainly because initially, I didn’t have to spend so much on gas, so my money went elsewhere such as savings and other expenses,” she added.

Of course, dual enrollment comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Learning in-person can help students learn at a faster rate and may reduce the urge to procrastinate but learning online can be more flexible for students and can help them learn time management. Having all students in the media center helps them learn how to lean on each other for help and use their resources.

As gas prices rise, countless young drivers are affected. Although it could be a hassle, it teaches them important skills that they will value for the rest of their lives.