Pain at the pump

$1.90. $2.04. $2.50. $2.75. $2.91. $3.02. In a short span of several months, Americans have witnessed the inflation of gasoline prices at their local gas stations, and at the University of Miami, students are also feeling the pinch.

“Oddly enough, I was just getting used to having to pay about $2.60 a gallon for gas every week or two,” Eric Suarez, senior, said. “My truck used to get nearly full off $20, and now it costs that much to get a bit over half a tank.”

“It takes 40 bucks to fill my tank, and I only drive an Altima,” Alex Orantes, graduate student, said. “That’s $200 a month in gas. I sometimes wonder if it’s a government conspiracy. Think about it, even if it goes up to six, seven, eight dollars, we still need that gas.”

The government is working on ways to aid consumers’ need for gas. In Florida, for example, Gov. Jeb Bush announced last week that he would consider cutting the gas tax, according to an article published in the Herald Tribune on Sept. 3. The only way that the tax, which is currently about 16.7 cents a gallon, can be reduced is if the Legislature, which will not convene until sometime in November, approves it. In the meantime, students are left to create their own gas-saving methods.

“I took up skateboarding over the summer so I don’t have to drive to campus every day,” Suarez said. “I live close enough to board over in the morning and board home later on, unless I catch a ride.”

Some students are doubling up their hours at work to make more money.

“I work a lot more hours [these days], and am going out a lot less,” Desi Delgado, senior, said.

Others are just sucking it up and forking over their dollars at the pump.

“I’ve learned not to worry about it [anymore],” Chris Contreras, junior, said. “The more I worry about it, the more stress builds up.”

“There’s nothing I can really do about it, so I curse a little and go where I have to go,” Liz Cepero, sophomore, said.

Students aren’t the only ones brainstorming for ideas on how to conserve their gas. Experts are working hard to come up with ways that could ease the inflating gas prices.

“The United States needs a strategic gasoline reserve,” said Dr. John M. Mezias, Associate Professor of Management specializing in environmental and social responsibility at UM. “Releasing crude oil from the petroleum reserve cannot help the shortfall in gasoline due to inactivity at the gas refineries in the Gulf Coast region. The lag time for developing crude oil into gasoline also suggests a need for astrategic gasoline reserve.”

According to an article published on CNN’s website on Sept. 8, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson claims that gas prices will stabilize. The question is, when? The answer is still unclear.

“I miss the good ole times when I’d pay a buck and a half instead of an arm or a leg,” Orantes said. “But hey, what can you do? God bless America.”

Christine Dominguez can be contacted at