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By Trevor Johnston 

CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Rising gas prices in New Jersey are giving students real problems.

A sign at the Runway Gas Station in Atco shows gas prices on Oct. 25.

While 2020 wasn’t too good for college students by forcing classes to go online while the world was going through a global pandemic, 2021 isn’t much kinder. While COVID-19 restrictions have settled down, one thing has not … gas prices.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in New Jersey was $3.45 on Thursday, according to the American Automobile Association. That’s a $1.23 increase over last year and a 3 cent increase over last week.

Tommy Boyle, a criminal justice major at Camden County College, said the increase in gas prices has had a big effect on him. “I was spending around $90 to $120 a week on gas because of driving to school and delivering pizza. It was taking a big toll on my car and wallet, so I needed to look for a change,” he stated. “It was either finding a more guaranteed money job and leaving the job I’ve had for years or trying to adjust my already tight schedule to work busier nights for the money.”

The pump shows how much Tommy Boyle paid to fill his car halfway at Runway Gas Station in Atco on Oct. 27. Photo by Trevor Johnston, CCC Journalism Program

He said he ultimately made the decision to leave his job for a new one to make more money but he noted gas prices still have him wary. “I still don’t want to drive to places that are far away because of the price of gas and that sometimes even comes down to going to hang out with friends or getting food,” he stated.

He’s not the only student having this experience. 

John Lalli, a computer graphics major at Camden County College, said he has also had to struggle with increasing gas prices. 

“While I’m only spending about $40 a week on gas, which isn’t bad, the prices are making a big impact on what car I want to purchase right now,” Lalli stated. “I don’t know if gas will ever drop at this rate and it seems like finding a car that’s good on gas is just impossible.” 

Both students said they saw New Jersey’s gas prices reaching the previous record of $3.99 a gallon again, which could make the effect on them more severe.

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