The recent spike in gas prices has meant significant changes in the day-to-day activity of students on the Cornell campus.
Since Hurricane Katrina hit, gas prices in Ithaca have gone from an average of $2.86 for a gallon of unleaded gas on Aug. 31 to an average of $3.39 yesterday. The rise has meant a decline in car usage both at school and around town.
“Last week people were still coming, but now people are not driving as much anymore,” said Shane Nichols, attendant at the Rotary Service Station. Prices have gone up 74 cents at the station since last Wednesday.
The cashier at Triphammer Road Mobil expressed a similar sentiment, saying that there has “absolutely” been a decline in the number of cars coming through his station since the prices rose at the end of last week.
One of the most popular destinations that Cornellians constantly drive to is Wegmans, the major source of groceries for those living off campus. Students not living in Cornell residence halls are finding themselves relying on Collegetown options for their meals.
“If it’s going to cost me more to fill my tank to get to the supermarket than to buy two weeks worth of food when I’m there, then I’ll eat take-out, thanks,” said Dana Sckolnick ’07.
Local business owners can attest to the trend as well.
“It seems as though our ‘grocery and utility’ column [of our regular food order] is higher than it usually is,” said Ray Joseph, assistant manager at Jason’s Grocery & Deli on the corner of College Avenue and Catherine Street. “It does seem that more people are coming in here getting groceries than I recall their being in the past,” Joseph said.
Places where people used to complain about a lack of parking, like the gym or the library, are no longer places worth driving to.
“While I would normally drive to the gym, I walked yesterday,” said Alexis Strohl ’07.
“It’s a few additional minutes of exercise,” added Julie Myers ’07.
Several students said that they would either be walking, or using the TCAT buses to get to the libraries on campus.
The reluctance to drive has meant a general restructuring of time for many people.
“I used to drive if I was running late, and now I won’t. I’m trying harder to be on time, and any place on campus is definitely now in walking distance,” said Fahad Siddiqui ’07.
As the most inexpensive gas around is coming in at $3.35/ gallon, car owners are dismayed.
“Not that I was so diligent about filling my tank before, but I have started to delay getting gas until the knob is about a half inch below empty,” said Inna Kleyman ’06.
Archived article by Erica Fink
Sun News Editor