Seeing the gas prices around town makes me really glad I don’t have a car. With some of the gas stations in Bloomington charging $5 or more per gallon, it is hard to imagine having to pay that much for gas.
While the rising gas prices make it harder for people everywhere to get around, I feel that people living in Bloomington have somewhat of an advantage. Despite Bloomington being a relatively large city, it is walkable and has decent public transportation, both of which can alleviate some of the issues that car owners are currently facing.
Bloomington residents should see the rising gas prices as an incentive to find green alternatives to driving and a reason to make use of the city's public transportation. While having to drop almost $100 on a tank of gas is a major inconvenience, there can be a bright side to it that we need to embrace.
The rise in gas prices could mean less cars are on the roads in Bloomington, and people may start to take advantage of public transportation more often. While you can't take a bus everywhere in Bloomington, switching to public ways of transportation, even for some drives, would still help people save on gas and support the city.
Not only would taking other forms of transportation clear the roads up, but it would make Bloomington a little greener. With all of the construction that is going on in Bloomington right now, it would be beneficial to have as few cars on the roads as possible to prevent traffic buildups. Using transportation that doesn’t require fossil fuels, or even that reduces the amount we use, can make a huge difference.
Bloomington Transit buses are relatively inexpensive for Bloomington residents and free for IU students, making them a great alternative to driving somewhere. The buses are going to run anyway, so why not take advantage of them?
The Bloomington Transit and IU Bus Service offer multiple routes across Bloomington from College Mall all the way to the other side of Interstate 69 that can be found on the DoubleMap app. It would be hard trying to find a route that wouldn’t at least get you close to where you need to go.
Using the Bloomington buses would also keep more cars off of the roads and reduce traffic. Many of the Bloomington roads have construction right now, so having less cars on the roads would help with the flow of traffic and help everyone get where they need to go faster.
Electric scooters are also another alternative for transportation. They can be helpful if you missed the bus and need to get somewhere fast. There are many different electric scooter options around Bloomington, like Lime and Veo. The biggest downside is the per-minute cost. This can still be cheaper than driving, but I still prefer walking or taking the bus.
Another semi-fast form of transportation is biking. Biking is a great form of exercise which is good for mental health. Taking a bike or skateboarding somewhere would also be better for the environment, because they are pollution-free modes of transportation. They can also give you flexibility with your routes so you can get places faster if need be.
Who knows — these high gas prices could be a blessing in disguise. Bloomington traffic can improve, local bus routes can keep on schedule and it may make Bloomington a little greener.
Olivia Franklin (she/her) is a junior studying journalism with a minor in political science. She is a member of the swim club at IU and the Women in Media organization.