Countrywide rise in gas prices affect Woodgrove students and Loudoun County residents’ transportation

Ever since the Russia-Ukraine conflict that began in early 2022, gas prices have neared an all-time high. One gallon of regular gas in Virginia was $4.3 dollars on average in March, as compared to February’s average of $3.6 [2022]. Diesel gas has also seen a significant price increase; and reached a high of $5.1 dollars a gallon last month. Recent gas prices have been the highest since 2014 according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Regardless of how long the war lasts, gas prices are expected to stay higher than average for a while. In response, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is encouraging local drivers to review information on the county’s website to learn more about the public transportation methods offered in the area. 

Multiple Woodgrove students and staff members claim that their schedule has been affected by  higher gas prices. Junior Henry Ziegler says that due to unavoidable school activities, he’s had to pay more attention to his spending habits so he can afford to keep driving to school. 

“For me, driving is a necessity I can’t escape because of after school events, but I have to be more conscious about my spending so that I can have enough to pay for gas every one to two weeks, and that’s kind of nerve-wracking,” Ziegler says.

Senior Lindsay Simpson gave a similar outlook on this issue, and states that even though she does her best to save money on gas, she still has to make some sacrifices, saying,   “I try to carpool whenever I can. I make enough by working to cover gas for school, but I’ve noticed I’ve been taking fewer trips since prices have gone up.”

Freshman Brinnay Nickola gives a good perspective on the topic; reporting that her brother, who she relies on for a ride to school, has been struggling with his transportation decisions for both cost and scheduling reasons. 

 “I’ve been struggling to get to school on time because of my brother debating whether or not to drive to school [because of the high gas prices]”. 

Nickola goes on to say that the bus is a viable option, but she and her brother risk being tardy for before school activities while taking the bus. “If we take the bus, then we both miss our meetings in the morning, so we are forced to pay for the gas or have a workaround,” she says.

The hike in gas prices is also taking a toll on adults. 

WHS Teaching Assistant Colleen Strite says she tries to make fewer shopping trips and has limited herself to only getting groceries once a week as compared to multiple times a week. “Usually I try to do my big shopping when I go to Leesburg so I don’t have to make multiple trips.”

On a positive note, some staff members have benefited from this nationwide crisis in surprising ways. English teacher Lynne Schoonover says, “Gas prices are devastating to folks who earn their living driving, and that’s serious; but for me, there’s been a good side to higher gas prices. I carpool with three other teachers now. We’ve gotten to be better friends, and it’s better for the environment.”

Sarah Putorti