Hannah Rosenberg/Sun Senior Editor

A Sunoco gas station in Ithaca shows high gas prices on March 13, 2022.

March 24, 2022

Increase in Ithaca Gas Prices Creates a Monetary Dilemma for Student Drivers

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While many students rely on walking or the TCAT bus service as a means of navigating Ithaca, narrow sidewalks and long trips to grocery stores have incentivized many Cornellians to bring their own cars to campus. However, recent spikes in gas prices have inconvenienced many students with cars, making them reluctant to drive. 

According to data from the ​​New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the average gas price in New York State has risen to 427.8 cents per gallon, which is a 51.1% increase from last year’s average price of 283.1 cents per gallon, and a significant increase from last month’s average of 369.2 cents per gallon.

The augmenting prices have created concerns for Cadigan Li ’23, who primarily uses her car for nighttime transportation and grocery shopping. 

“Parking spaces around Ithaca campus can be limited, and they are expensive,” Li said. “This recently increased gas price has added another burden to my monthly budget. ”

Some students have also modified their driving habits to cope with the price increases. One student, Joy Chen ’24, looked for gas-saving tips when driving after the surge in gasoline prices.  She has since reduced the frequency of using air-conditioning in the car and the speed of stepping on the gas. 

“I have always known those tips, but I didn’t feel necessary to actively remind myself of them until now,” said Chen.

As national average gas prices spike, many are searching for a reason for the surge citing President Biden’s Executive Order banning imported oil, gas, and coal from Russia to the United States as one major factor.

However, though this ban may play a big factor in gas price increases, they have also been consistently impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and seasonal price changes and it is uncertain how long the high prices will last.According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, retail gasoline prices would historically escalate in the late spring through summer, as people tend to drive more during this period. 

“Those red numbers outside of fuel stations are going up day by day,” said Tiffany Yuan ’25. “I wasn’t prepared for that.” 

Yuan indicated that she has intentionally avoided driving in recent weeks due to the unexpected increase in gasoline prices. “I am worried that the price might continue to climb for a while,” she said.