Some US colleges are going virtual to save their students from paying sky-high gas prices as President Biden called on oil companies to drop the cost, arguing this is a “time of war” and Americans “need relief now.”
Southwestern Community College in North Carolina, where the average price of fuel is $4.58 a gallon, has been allowing students to attend classes virtually on Fridays for the last two weeks “due to the ever-rising costs of gasoline,” the school wrote on their website.
“All SCC buildings except the Public Safety Training Center will be closed on Fridays through at least Aug. 5,” the school noted.
Students have been back in the classroom since at least Fall 2021 after transitioning to remote learning at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 but the college has been offering students the option to attend classes virtually.
Since late May, Southwest Tennessee Community College, where the average price of gas Thursday was $4.56, has been instituting “virtual Fridays” to protect students from fuel prices and rising inflation, the school said on their website.
“Our students and employees, like the rest of the nation, are facing historic inflation numbers and increasing gas prices,” Southwest president Dr. Tracy D. Hall said in a statement.
“We are concerned about their welfare and how they may be impacted by this increased cost of living. Some of our students and staff are already stretched thin due to previous pandemic challenges. We hope that going virtual on Fridays during summer will provide them with temporary relief from travel-related expenses and help alleviate their pocketbook stress.”
The college is expected to return to “normal, on-campus operations” come August 15.
On Wednesday, Biden called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax, an 18-cent hike per gallon of fuel, for the next 90 days as he implored oil companies to offer prices that reflect what they’re paying per barrel.
“There’s no time now for profiteering,” Biden said during a speech at the South Court Auditorium.
“When the cost of oil does come down, we need the price at the gas stations — that they — what they charge at the pump — to come down as well.”
Biden noted in the last two weeks, oil costs have dropped by more than $10 a barrel, which he said should lead to a drop in cost of about 25 cents per gallon but prices at the pump have remained steady, with the average cost nationwide only dropping a few cents week over week.
“Some haven’t reduced prices at all,” he said.
“When the price of a barrel of oil goes up, it doesn’t… take much time for the price at the pump to go up.”
He asked companies setting prices at the pump to stop jacking up the cost.
“This is a time of war, global peril, Ukraine. These are not normal times,” he said.
“Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you are paying for the product. Do it now. Do it today. Your customers, the American people, they need relief now.”