Low gas prices makes for happy commuter students

Castleton freshman Karissa Shaw smiled as she filled up her 2007 Saab Aero with $3.07 gas a little over a week ago, before it dropped even further.

“I live on campus and commute back and forth from Wallingford a few times a week, so the lower gas prices make it that much easier to go home,” said Shaw.

Gas prices in Castleton, like everywhere else, have significantly dropped from almost $4.00 a gallon to an average of $2.98 a gallon.

Days later, Rutland’s Nick Davis filled up his 2002 Chevy Silverado truck at the Mobil on West Street at $2.95 a gallon.

“My truck is a real gas guzzler, so the low gas prices make it a little less painful filling up,” he said.

But why are gas prices so low?  

An article entitled “5 Reason Why Gasoline Prices Will Drop” on Bankrate.com, credits cheaper gas blends being refined in winter, the drastic drop in the price of oil and a lack on natural disasters stopping oil flow.  

According to the article, September triggers more laid back clean-air standards set by the government allowing oil refineries are able to make gas with cheaper ingredients such as butane rather than hydrocarbons.

The decreased cost for the oil refineries makes prices to the consumers cheaper as well, the article states.

As for natural disasters, a bad enough storm can wipe out multiple oil rigs, causing gas prices to skyrocket. Hurricane Isaac, for instance, took down the Gulf in August 2012 and shut down plants that were pumping 1.3 million barrels per day.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit causing gas to go up 46 cents in just one week.

Tom Rutkowski is thankful Mother Nature has been so kind lately. Rutkowski is a business professor from Glenmont, N.Y., just South of Albany, and he teaches three days a week, traveling 87 miles each way. That’s 522 miles a week and it was costing him about $90 a week.  

“When gas was over $4.00 per gallon, I would spend near $90 for three trips a week. So now, I save about $20 a week to teach on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with the lower prices.”

Roy Vestrich, part-time professor, said that his daily commute is 72 miles round-trip from Middlebury and gas prices played a part in his decision to go into early retirement last year.

Gas has a huge impact on students as well.

“I can finally turn the heat on in my car,” said senior Cassie Harnett, who said she used to purposely freeze to save on gas.

Senior Chelsea Bruce, from Brandon, drives 46 miles round-trip every day, costing about $40 a week.

“Lower gas prices make my life a lot easier and less stressful,” said Bruce.       

Gas prices are expected to stay down for the rest of the year.

But don’t get too psyched.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that the average gas price will be  $3.38 a gallon in 2015.


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