Gas prices affect Eastern student, faculty commutes

Students, staff and faculty members of Eastern Michigan University don’t always share the same concerns about budgeting resources, but with gasoline prices rising over $4 per gallon that are expected to continue rising through the summer, all segments of the EMU community face the same question: How can someone afford paying more for something affecting so many aspects of life?

Steven Moore II, EMU’s Energy and Sustainability Manager, suggested a straightforward answer.

“The best way to address rising gas prices is to not use gas,” Moore said.
Moore went on to explain how the university is addressing its own costs.

“EMU has been concerned on gas usage for a number of years,” he said. “Our main focus has been to reduce the number of vehicles used on campus to help reduce the overall gas usage.”

He went on to say EMU has been successful in both eliminating waste and consolidating the university’s fleet of vehicles to lower gas consumption.

Moore is not alone in addressing consumption first. Many students and faculty are looking for ways to cut their gas use.

Accounting junior Gretchen Sunderland and her roommate plan to take a different approach.

“We’re actually moving closer next year, we’ll be a few blocks closer to campus,” Sunderland said.

“We’ll cut a 10-minute drive at least in half. Its definitely more convenient, but we thought it would save us money too.”

Beyond shortening her commute, Sunderland said she also plans to work on carpooling more on weekend trips back home to the Brighton area for work, and would think about finding a job more local.

She believes the move and carpooling is necessary, as her and her roommate have already begun feeling the impact of higher prices.

“We’ve already had to cut back,” Sunderland said. “When we go grocery shopping, we look for the cheapest things. The money for gas has to come from somewhere.”

Students aren’t alone when it comes to finding an answer to rising gas prices.

Associate Professor of Economics David Crary has been using a mix of his van and, weather permitting, his bike to make his 10-mile commute to and from the university for about 10 years.

“There’s a good chance prices will stay high through the summer,” said Crary, citing rapid growth in Asia and social unrest in the Middle East for rising prices.

“The price of gas is more of an incentive to make the trip by biking despite what the weather is doing.”

Not everyone is taking as drastic steps to try to dodge rising gas costs. While education major Meghann Ginestet might not like the higher costs, she accepts them.

“I have to commute from Trenton, about 28 miles each way, four days a week,” Ginestet said.

“Yeah it takes a lot of gas, but that’s what I have to do to get my education; its just part of the deal.

“I thought about fuel efficiency when I bought my car, it helps that I get good mileage.”
For anyone looking for other ways to address fuel costs, Moore points to a number of options, both through the university and outside resources.

“There are many opportunities to ride a bike to campus or share a ride to campus,” said Moore, who urges anyone interested to look into the BikesEMU program on the website. For anyone looking for carpooling possibilities, he suggests, which provides a free ride share matching service.
“Or walk to campus if you live close enough,” Moore said.

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