Gas prices affect college commuters

Gas prices
Students are affected by the rise in gas prices. - Emily Novotny/TRUMPET

Gas prices neared $4 a gallon last week, and with the spike in fuel cost, Wartburg commuters are reflecting on their choice to commute.

Elizabeth Kratoska said she’s been making the commute since her first year and now, as a Fourth Year, it’s an integrated part of her routine.

“I figure I have to go to school and nothing is going to stop me, not event ten more cents on gas,” Kratoska said.

Monica Edeker said she couldn’t afford to live on campus, so the added cost of rising gas isn’t an issue when she considers the money she is saving by living off campus.

“It’s not something I can control, and it’s still a fraction of the cost of living on campus. I save roughly $7,000 a year not living on campus,” Edeker said.

Kratoska said she can’t justify living on campus when she’s so close.

“It just seems silly to me, but I know I’m missing out on evening things,” Kratoska said.

Aren Souhrada said she saves money with the commute, too.

“It also makes driving back and forth affordable. If you live on campus your tuition is really high but commuting, the money you would be paying for room and board you can use for gas money and you don’t have to put any interest on that.” Souhrada said. “I like living at home even though sometimes it might seem difficult. I know in the end I am doing the right thing. I know I will be able to afford to pay back the loans I will make over the next four years attending Wartburg.”

Kratoska said that the commute, after several years, does begin to wear on her in certain aspects.

“I don’t have a dorm so everything for the day has to come with me. And I have to plan ahead in terms of bad weather, such as snow. I’ve had to spend anywhere from one to five days on campus and I definitely get the dorm experience then.” Kratoska said. “It can be rough and after five years of commuting from home to college it is tiring; and in some ways I do wish I had stayed on campus.”

Souhrada said there are other reasons that affected her decision to commute that gas prices have no way of changing.

“My dad was deployed to Japan and my mom’s health isn’t doing very well so I didn’t want to leave her at home by herself if something were to happen,” Souhrada said.

The gas prices aren’t the main factor contributing to many students’ decisions to continue commuting, Souhrada said.

“You still get the sense of being on your own and it makes tuition more affordable,” Souhrada said.

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