Feeling the pinch at the pump

How are Tyler residents coping with soaring gas prices?

Gas prices all over the country have spiked since the end of December after sanctions levied on Russian oil imports in the wake of the country’s invasion of Ukraine. 

In the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, gas prices have risen beyond their previous record during the financial crisis of 2008, and in Tyler, residents are taking notice of price increases at the pump.

With gas prices expected to increase over the next several months, The Tyler Loop asked four East Texans how price hikes have affected them and how they are managing the added expense. 

Joe Camero, 40 of  Tyler said his gas expenses have increased weekly from $40 to $70. 

Camero said he is switching to driving a smaller vehicle.

 “We do own a smaller car that I’ve been planning on using instead of the Sedan,” he said. 

Camero said his Sam’s Club membership is a money saving hack helping  him. According to Camero, gas prices there have taken a recent hike from 15 to 25 cents more per gallon. In early April, Sam’s Club unleaded gas cost $3.54 per gallon.

Sandesh Neupane, 25, has changed his daily routines to accommodate hikes in gas prices. 📷 Cami Bhandari

Sandesh Neupane, a 25-year-old from Tyler, travels between Dallas and Tyler. 

He said he has made major changes to his driving habits by planning his trips more carefully.

“I don’t want to drive unnecessarily,” he said. “Before, I might go to the store multiple times a night. Now, I sit down and plan each trip before I go. I will try to find other options like free online delivery or talk with my roommates to go one time [to the store] together so we can save money and bring down supply and demand,” Neupane said. “If more people do this, gas prices may decrease.”

Neupane said steeper price hikes could change his habits even more.

 “If [the] price [goes] above $5, I will have to think of something but for right now, it’s not a lot of [problems],” he said.

For now, Neupane said his gas station of choice is helping. 

“I go to Murphy’s gas stations. Murphy’s is always cheaper,” he said. 

Drexell Frederick, First Lady at Maranatha Praise Center in Tyler  Said filling up her family’s 2016 Chevy Silverado takes $30 to $60 more a week.

Like Sandesh, Drexell said her family has changed their driving habits.

“Instead of coming home and going out again, we try to do everything while we’re out,” she said.

To try to compensate for gas costs, Frederick has been eating out less frequently. “I’ll cook at home,” she said.

Frederick said the price hikes already have become a financial problem. 

“We’ll just have to keep making adjustments to our lifestyle to keep up with the price of gas,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Frederick has used other money saving hacks. 

“[I use] coupons in the back of the local newspaper. We buy it for $1.25 on Sundays. Every newspaper has coupons in the back of it, and we try to fill up at Sam’s Club.”

Melissa Jones, a logistics manager in Tyler, said between her car and her husband’s truck, their weekly gas expenses have gone from $30 to $120 weekly. 

“We’ve been driving my car more and using his truck less. Like usually, my car only goes to work and back, but we’ve been using my car on the weekends,” she said.

Jones drives a Honda CRV and her husband drives a Ford F-250. Jones said the driving adjustments are sustainable for now.

“Until it really spikes … it goes up, we pay it. If it goes up to $5 per gallon, we’ll have a problem, and we’ll have to stop some of our weekend travels,” she said.

Jones uses her Brookshire’s rewards card to save money. “Matter of fact, we’ll have to stop today or tomorrow and use some of our points,” Jones said.

Having been defined “different” all her life, Camelia Bhandari has a love for what makes people unique. A Tyler native and University of Texas at Tyler student studying mathematics and English, Bhandari enjoys exploring what makes Tyler unique.

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