As I drove past my usual gas station on the way to the store at 10:30 this morning regular unleaded was $2.96. Not great, definitely, but under $3 a gallon, so I made plans to stop on my way home, when the gas station would be on the easier side of the street to reach. As I pulled into said gas station at 11:30, a mere hour since seeing $2.96, the sign now read $3.23. Shocked and disgusted, I parked and filled up anyway because I have to drive 30 miles to class tomorrow morning and the car was under a quarter tank.
This also got me thinking: at an average of $30 dollars per fill up and an average of one fill up per week and a semester that is 14 weeks long, I've spent more than $400 dollars, roughly one-third of my financial aid for this semester, on gas to get me to and from school. Mileage is not factored in to financial need, so an individual with the same finiancial constraints as me but living only half the distance to school has $200 of financial aid money available for things like books, rent, and supplies that I'm spending on gas.
The whole reason for me to go back to school was to put myself in a better financial situation, to get trained in a field where I have more earning potential and job security. I cut my current job back to part time to facilitate going back to school and applied for financial aid, which doesn't quite make up for my lost income, but now I'm being forced to reconsider the whole endeavor, not because classes are too hard (they're not), or because I'm not loving school (I'm totally loving it), but because the balance in my bank book is dropping faster than I had ever imagined.
Politically, I wish someone out there would just LISTEN and approve more loans and grants for college students and/or take any number of steps to solve the gas crisis: 1) reduce the taxes included in the price of a gallon of gas; 2) open the national oil reserve; 3) light a fire under oil companies who post record profits year after year; and 4) take serious initiative when it comes to alternative fuels and improved fuel economy.
8 months ago