PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Individual people, big businesses and area schools are feeling the pain at the pumps as gas prices continue to rise.
High gas prices are forcing Southeast Texas school districts to make serious changes to their transportation budget.
The bigger a vehicle is, the more gas it will take to fill its tank. Area school officials said they are having to make adjustments to their fuel budget to keep filling gas-guzzling vehicles such as school buses.
In addition to making budget changes, officials are also trying to maximize fuel efficiency and seating capacity.
“We're trying to fit as many people on the bus as we can and travel in the shortest amount of distance between, just to maximize our fuel and our seating capacity,” Corey Metts, PAISD director of transportation said.
District officials said the district uses more than 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel per week. The district is paying $1 more per gallon than they were at the beginning of 2022.
This means PAISD is spending about $2,000 more per week on fuel than it was at the beginning of the year.
“The gas is high, even the diesel is high, you know, so it's costing the district,” Donald Williams, PAISD bus driver, said. “This, you know, this is ridiculous, actually, you know, and I think it [has] alot to do with the war."
Bus drivers for PAISD believe more students are using school transportation due to rising gas prices.
“It's a lot of stops that I have that I used to just pass up because nobody was out there, but now, there are kids at every stop,” Williams said.
However, despite the high gas prices and increased stops, Williams said he finds happiness in knowing that he is helping parents. He said it is what motivates him to keep on rolling.
“But, you know, is one thing that only blessing in it is that if it helps the parents, you know, they can, they don't have to put money in the car to bring the kids to school and stuff, and they taken advantage of it now to I tell you,” Williams said.
While high gas prices have affected PAISD, district officials said they are okay for now. Mett said adjusting the fuel budget will not impact current or future drivers' benefits, because they have a separate personal budget.