Tight Budget? Ways to Save on Gas and Transportation

April 29, 2011  

By Felicia Logan
flogan@smu.edu

The economic downturn has hit just about everybody in the pocket, and college students already have plenty of things to be concerned with as far as their studies go. As gas prices continue to balloon, students are looking for ways to save money. Riding the DART, walking, carpooling, bicycling and using websites that provide information about where to find the cheapest gas are a few options that may help students pinch their pennies.

DART is the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system, which operates buses, light rail commuter rails and on-call shuttle services, throughout Dallas and 12 of the city’s suburbs. An annual pass costs between $650 and $1,200, depending on what type of pass is required for commutes. However, SMU gives students a helpful and hefty discount.

“The contract between SMU and DART states that if you are an enrolled student, you are entitled to purchase a DART pass for a one time fee of $5,” says SMU’s Park ‘N Pony office supervisor Rita Zech. Although she could not provide specific numbers, “The number of students riding DART this year is definitely up,” she says. Shana Ray, a sophomore majoring in communications, says riding the DART is cheaper and more convenient than having her parents chauffer her. Living off campus makes it necessary for her to commute.

Many students live on campus, though. Sean Casa, a senior majoring in advertising and English, has a car, but prefers to walk. “I live on campus, and generally, I avoid driving unless I have to, just to save a little green.” Casa enjoys the walk from campus to Snyder Plaza and back. Eve Hay also lives on campus and has a car, but the junior advertising and psychology major shares rides with her friends. When she and her
friends want to go somewhere, they “pile up together” and carpool, says Hay. She says it’s an easy way to save on gas. Of course, riding a bicycle everywhere is also an efficient gas saver. SMU junior Emmanuel Van Hulst rides just about everywhere. It’s not only cost efficient, but a fun leisure activity, as well.

The average price of gas in Dallas is $3.83 per gallon today. Utilizing Websites like www.gasbuddy.com, www.dallasgasprices.com, and www.fuelmeup.com can help students find the cheapest gas available in their immediate area, follow trends, changes in price, and compare prices to the national average. Searches can be refined by mileage, zip code, and gas grades, too.

With the current economic downturn, its pays to find ways to save. Look for alternatives, instead of breaking the bank. As it’s often said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Most students already know that every penny counts.

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