F Although the recent gasoline crisis appears to be over, the fuel shortages and high prices that gripped the area for weeks had a ripple effect felt by local students. It's especially true for students who not only drive to school, but also to jobs they hold down after school and on weekends.
"I have to buy my own [gas], so I've started having to work more. Otherwise I can't leave the house!" Nation Ford High School senior Michaela Pebbles said.
The gas crisis, blamed on Gulf Coast refinery disruptions caused by Hurricane Ike in September, had an impact on teenaged drivers because, since school started, they have less time to work for gas money and hunt for available pumps .
Rachel Martenson, also a senior at Nation Ford, said, "One day I woke up at 6 a.m. to call gas stations and none of them had gas...finally around 8 a.m. I found one with gas and when I got there the line was backed up all the way to the freeway. I couldn't turn around because of all the traffic and I was late to school."
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Many local filling stations, hoping to stretch supplies, put limits on how much gas consumers could buy during any one visit. However, some students were concerned about running too low or getting stranded with empty tanks.
"I fill up my tank all the way, rather than $20 or $30, because of the availability," senior Lauren Howell said.
Junior Rory Masterson, who drives a Ford Taurus, did run out of gas. "My car takes premium gas, and there was none around, so I put in regular, and that didn't work," Masterson said. Even though supplies are more plentiful than they were a week or two ago, Masterson stopped driving his Taurus.
"I just want us to have gas available," said Masterson, who also said he tries to work longer shifts at Lowes Foods on occasion to help offset the price of fuel and other expenses.
"I'm sick of oil companies holding it back from us. We know they have it, and they want to see how much we're willing to pay for it. It's ridiculous."
Junior Kreshan Amin and senior Tad Daniels also buy their own gas. Amin said he doesn't fill up weekly, "but when I do fill up, it's about $55."
Most students, rather than give up driving, said they would rather find ways to earn more money, such as working longer shifts at their after school and weekend jobs. Asked if they considered riding the bus to school to save gas, Amin, Howell, Lewis and Pebbles all replied with a resounding "no!"
Not everyone's feeling the pinch, however. Junior Casey Lewis, who drives an SUV, said, "My parents fill the tank, so price doesn't affect me much."