Feeling the pain at the pump

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Coronavirus cases are dropping and gas prices are rising. As of May 1, 2022 gas is sitting at an average of $5.74 per gallon. That makes California #1 in the most expensive gas prices in the country. 

These prices can affect anyone and everyone. Budgets for school are increasing rapidly, since the pandemic started there has been a 71% increase in diesel and over a 40% increase in unleaded. This can affect our school districts since they offer bus transportation. SUHSD Head of Transportation, Gregg Allan says “The only issue is that our fuel budget has increased by 30%.” He also adds “We currently own one electric bus and are trying to acquire more. However, they cost twice the price of a conventional power school bus.” ;kj

Teachers are also feeling the squeeze. While many live in Salinas, many live outside the city and even outside of the county. At Alisal, 35% of the teachers do not live in Salinas, they live in Marina, Gonzales, Greenfield and even Firebaugh, which is near Fresno. 

Art teacher Andre Fernandez drives 220 miles in total everyday paying an estimate of $1,200 a month because he moved to Firebaugh. Fernandez said, ¨Housing is too expensive in Salinas, but I grew up here. I graduated from Alisal High, and I relate to the kids here and I don’t see myself working anywhere else but here.” Fernandez added, “I recently bought a Honda, back when I was commuting with my truck I would pay almost 50 dollars everyday for gas.”

 While 56% of teachers are paying over $200 a month, NGS 2 teacher Steven Rovell pays $0 and says the gas prices do not affect him at all since he has an electric car. “My wife and I carpool to work since she is also a teacher here and it is nice not paying for gas and helping the environment. Killing two birds with one stone,” Rovell said. 

On the other hand, some students also do not live within the same city as their school. They either drive to school, ride the bus, or get dropped off. Senior Adrian Corral drives to school and he says, ¨The gas prices don’t bother me, I need it in order to go to school and work.¨ Senior Diego Puga also says they don’t bother him. ¨I’m happy to say I have an economic car, but when I pump gas, I don’t pump and look, I just pump and go.¨ 

All in all, most teachers have limited their road trips and excess gas usage. “We have limited the number of longer car trips we take, including going to Santa Barbara to visit my daughter who is in college there,” chemistry teacher Deirdre Gonzalez said. “On the positive side, last summer we bought an all-electric car and my husband, who commutes from Salinas to Hollister every day, drives that car to work, which is helping save us money (since that car does not need gas and it’s way less expensive to charge it).” Whereas students see no problem in either having to pay for gas or having their parents pay for their gas. After all, gas is a necessity to get from point A to B, but with prices on the rise again people may ask themselves if they really need to take that trip to the store or if they’ll take a pass.?