Students, Staff and Faculty Provide Input on the Effect of Lower Gas Prices

Carly Meyer, Contributing Writer

Everyone has likely noticed the decrease in gas prices lately – and for most Americans this has been a huge relief. Since October 2014 gas prices have gone down from $4 to $2.00 per gallon — they’re now hovering just above a $1.80 or lower in some areas.

Not only are lower gas prices easier on the wallet but they also affect students, staff, and faculty at Black Hills State University in a positive way. Nora Gail, Academic Advisor at BHSU, commutes to work every day from Belle Fourche to Spearfish, SD and back again. Gail said she has definitely taken advantage of the lower prices. “My husband has a gas guzzler of a vehicle and I usually drive it. It used to cost around $150 to fill up. Yesterday though I only had to pay $60. It makes a huge difference with a 20-mile round-trip commute every day. But I always know that that enjoyment is short-lived. I love filling our vehicles up with gas when it’s cheap. When it’s not it makes me cry”.

Many of the University’s staff, faculty, and students commute to BHSU every day or every other day. Many people drive from Rapid City or Belle Fourche like Gail does. BHSU Photography professor Steve Babbitt said with gas being so low he has saved over $50.00 per week since last October.

Students at BHSU have other expenses to take care of throughout the school year, so with low gas prices, this is one expense they don’t have to worry too much about. Graham Wickwire, psychology major at BHSU, has never really worried about gas prices affecting his finances. “Personally, gas prices haven’t had a tremendous effect because I drive a small car that gets good gas mileage, but it certainly has been more affordable to fill my tank. I can spend the extra money elsewhere”. Graham did mention that the low gas price is welcome though, because he has a job that requires him to commute to Deadwood and Sturgis every other day.

Riley Winter, a Mass Communications major at BHSU has a similar scenario. “I live so close to my hometown that it is easy to go home, so quick gas prices don’t really affect me. It’s not something I tend to watch too much. However, I do notice the difference when I fill up and how much lower it is than usual”.

Although the impact of the gas prices doesn’t affect Wickwire or Winter too much, it does have an effect on students like Brooke Lang, who drives a big SUV. Land said she is thankful that gas prices have decreased and she now doesn’t have to worry about finding extra money to fill up her big tank.

“With my busy schedule this semester as an Education major plus commuting to Gillette, WY every two weeks for classes, I find that the lower gas prices have been much easier on my finances and I have more money in my wallet at the end of the day”. A lot of students likely relate to Lang’s statement and feel the same way.

Cody Okray, a Junior at BHSU, is really enjoying the cheaper gas because he gets to travel around more. “My friends and I would only go on one or two day trips to Rapid City if we could afford it. We were all tight on cash at the beginning of the semester, but now we make more frequent trips and can spend money on shopping and nice restaurants. Overall we don’t have to worry about saving all of our money for gas when we can spend that money on other things”.

Even though not all faculty, staff, and students felt the same impact, they all agreed that gas is more affordable and they all saved a huge chunk of money.

There is plenty of stress that goes on in a college kid’s life – regarding grades tuition, rent, food, and personal problems. Most of these issues involve money in some ways so being able to afford gas definitely takes some of the pressure off. Who knows, maybe a kid needed that gas money to take a drive up beautiful Spearfish Canyon or drive up to the falls or even hike to Harney Peak. Having access to these areas and being able to afford that gas that provides a person the opportunity to visit these locations is a sweet deal.