In addition to exam crunch time, extracurricular activities, and social obligations, students in Kalamazoo are currently facing another obstacle: increasing gas prices. According to gasbuddy.com, the statewide average gas price rose to $3.93 Friday, up from $3.67, a week earlier than expected.
This rise in gas rates, however, is not an isolated incident, said Western Michigan University Police Lieutenant Scott Coy.
“We faced a similar situation several years ago when gas prices first started to climb drastically,” he said. ”He United States needs to grow its energy independence by digging for more oil in North America,” he said.
This oil dependence, said Coy, tends to take a toll on public officials in Kalamazoo.
“Police work tends to rack up the miles,” he said. “The Department of Public Safety has seven marked and five unmarked vehicles, two utility trucks, and one administrative vehicle; there’s a lot of stopping and going. It’s the going that drinks the fuel.”
In response to these increasing gas prices, both public officials and students have taken provisions to counteract the problem by finding fuel-free means of transportation.
“Gas prices aren’t really a huge concern for me,” said WMU senior Sara Provost. “I walk to school so prices don’t really affect me that much. That is however one of the reasons I do walk to school instead of driving.”
The switch to transportation free of fuel seems to be on the rise on WMU’s campus. According to Coy, innovations are being made in WMU’s Department of Public Safety. During late spring through the summer, WMU will see more officers on bicycle patrol and even the Segway, a popular European means of transportation.
“My hope is to review the potential for these as well as other alternatives as the budget allows,” said Coy.
The economic and political climate, Coy said, will make the problem more short-sighted. However, the prices are likely to be here for at least the summer.
“There may be a slight drop come fall,” he said.
“The use of hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel capable vehicles” has helped combat any foreseeable gas problems, said Coy. “Our students, faculty and staff can be proud knowing the administration supports these cutting edge initiatives and their wide-spread use.”