Pain at the Pump: Gas prices force students to sacrifice

London senior Haley Schenkenfelder pays for gas at Junior’s gas station on Thursday afternoon. Schenkenfelder pays about $40 a week for gas. “Even though my parents help pay for gas, I could use the extra money for food,” she said.

Spencer Jenkins

Bowling Green freshman Allie Steen, who drives a gas-guzzling white Hummer H3, has been getting hit hard by high gas prices.

Her car gets about 13 miles per gallon.

“It’s really inconvenient because I don’t drive as much,” Steen said. “I have to cut down on my trips back home and make sure I have everything with me.”

But Steen isn’t the only student who is considering other ideas and sacrifices to save money on gas.

The cost of crude oil drives the price of gasoline, said Scott Lasley, associate political science professor.

“Any time there is uncertainty in the Middle East, it will generally lead to higher gas prices,” he said. “There’s almost a direct correlation with what goes on there and what we put in our tanks.”

As of Thursday afternoon, regular gasoline prices across the U.S. hovered at about $3.60 per gallon, as compared to about $2.82 per gallon last year, according to, which lists local gas prices for each state.

Russellville senior Kenneth Williams commutes from Russellville to Bowling Green to work at Chick-fil-A and go to school, he said.

“I spend all my time and money on gas and driving,” he said.

Williams sacrifices time with friends in cities such as Nashville because he doesn’t have the extra money for gas, he said.

“I can really tell a difference between what I used to spend and what I spend now,” Williams said.

He drives his Honda Civic 30 to 35 miles every time he attends class or goes to work, he said.

“It gets good gas mileage,” Williams said. “I used to not pay attention to the hike in gas prices.”

Now, Williams said he pays attention.

Elizabethtown junior Ethan Williams said the cost of gas burdens everyone.

“There’s a certain extent to how much you travel, and you have to prioritize different things,” he said. “You have to make sacrifices, kind of.”

Williams goes home about every other weekend because of the cost of gas, and when he shops in Bowling Green, he tries to get everything in one trip, he said.

“I’ve sacrificed almost every aspect of spending money in general,” Williams said. “It limits you to what you can and cannot buy.”

Williams drives a sedan and tends to drive 10 to 15 mph slower on any given road, because that helps get more miles per gallon, he said.

Steen has to drive a lot to campus and work, she said.

“It’s inevitable for me to drive as much as I do, and it’s expensive, and I have to deal with it,” she said. “It’s getting worse, and it’s making me want to reconsider my vehicle.”

Steen fills up at least once a week, and she said she only fills up when her Hummer is on empty.

Gas prices are never certain, Lasley said.

“My sense is that we will see the prices move around as long as there is uncertainty in the Middle East,” he said. “It is important to remember that we are heading into summer, where the demand for gas goes up, and the prices generally rise with demand.”