High gas prices affect Riverside City College students, force some to reconsider plans

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A sign at the Chevron on 14th street and the 91 Freeway shows prices starting at 6.99 p/gal on March 25. Gas prices have surged for the last several weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Photo by Stephen Day, Viewpoints.
By Mya Castro

Commuter students from Riverside City College are making an effort to adapt and make it to campus despite the inflation of gas prices causing financial struggles.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), regular-grade gas prices averaged $5.82 in California. Nationally the cost of gas averaged $4.16.

The inflation of gas prices created difficulties for commuter students like Kristiana McKelvey, a choir student who drives from Hemet to Riverside three times a week.

“I have to get a new tank (of gas), maybe every four days because of how much I drive,” McKelvey said. “Now I’m paying quite literally $75 to $125 every two weeks and it’s ridiculous.”

The increase in prices has caused stress for students like McKelvey.

“I’ve been having to work more, which is just taxing on me mentally because I’m only supposed to be part-time,” she said. “I have to take up more hours and shifts so that I can physically get to class, which takes away from my personal time.”

Isabella Pelayo, a nursing student from Running Springs, says that her 45-minute commute to school four times a week has created a problem with her finances.

“I’m not tempted to go out as much because I don’t want to waste gas,” Pelayo said. “A lot of my paycheck now goes to transportation.”

Pelayo feels the college should give commuter students extra financial assistance. She now spends an extra $20 every time she goes to the gas station.

“More financial aid should be given,” she said. “I feel like a lot of people don’t live in Riverside and they have to commute more than 20 minutes.”

RCC student athletes are also experiencing the financial consequence of the rise in prices.

Maxwell Shor, a student athlete from Palm Springs, visits RCC daily for practice and training.

“I had to move due to the gas prices and (the) time that it took to get from Palm Springs to Riverside on a daily basis,” Shor said.

Due to the increase in prices, Shor stays at home whenever he can and carpools with teammates to save money.

“When I fill up, I can’t fill up my full (gas) tank because it costs too much money, and I won’t have enough (money) to spend on food and rent,” he said. “Some of my other teammates live in the same apartment complex as me, so I carpool with them a lot.”

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