Gas prices spark student ire

Northern Kentucky University students are noticing empty wallets and less change in their pockets due to an incline in gas prices.

Prices have soared to levels never seen before, rising to $4.15, as witnessed two weeks ago. They remain around $3.70, as of Sept. 30, near NKU, according to

This price has students scrambling for ways to keep their cars running.

“I have to go all the way out to Florence and every trip out and back seems to make my tank go down a quarter,” junior education major Hillary Leicht said.

While 90 percent of students commute, those who stay on campus save money. Residential students list convenience, sense of community and value as why they chose to live on campus, according to Peter Trentacoste, director of University Housing. But gas prices are putting their fair share in.

“I anticipate that gas prices have contributed to more students choosing to live on campus this year,” Trentacoste said.

Devin Buckley, a junior, doesn’t live in the dorms, but with his 15-mile drive to NKU, he has considered moving closer to the expressway to make school more accessible.

“I consider myself a little bit of a poor college student. Gas plays a huge role because one-fourth of my pay check goes to gas,” Buckley said.

Prices are forcing students to make quick decisions on how to spend their money. On top of climbing gas costs students must cope with tuition, book fees and a $175 parking pass that expires after one year.

After partnering up with the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky, NKU made a trial run in 2007 by providing students, faculty and staff with free rides on all TANK buses with a valid NKU All-Card.

NKU has kept the TANK program for 2008, as it considered the program a success. In the first week of classes, 4,390 students rode buses, according to Gina Douthat, director of communications for TANK.

“Transportation is clearly one item that is becoming more expensive for everyone, so this program is a real help to college students as they work to make their money last longer,” said Douthat.

Wes Crout, a senior at NKU, found another way to save gas money. His commute is a six-and-a-half-mile, 30-minute one-way trip. He pedals his 2002 Giant OCR-3 bike to attend classes.

Although he has to wake up on time and fight the unpredictable weather, Crout has done this for five years. He said he saves about $18 on gas per week just riding to school.

Although there are temptations to give in and drive a car, “I will continue to ride my bike forever until I’m disabled against my will,” Crout said.

For other students, Buckley offers this advice: “Save up during the summer.”