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Drivers search for alternatives as gas prices continue to climb

Transit Phoenix Light Rail
Posted at 4:24 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 21:10:41-04

PHOENIX — Drivers are searching for alternatives after many in the Valley see prices for gas well over $5.

The average cost for a gallon of gas in Arizona is now $5.13, but in Maricopa County, it’s even higher at $5.45.

"It has been probably four years since I've taken the light rail," said Alexandra Cook.

But as Cook got back to Sky Harbor, she decided to skip calling an Uber and instead step on the light rail.

“I think from here to my apartment, that’s actually not even five minutes away, is a $20 to $30 price ticket," said Cook. "So, I would rather just get a $2 ticket.”

She says gas prices mean cutting back on things like dinners or drinks out and finding ways to save even just $20.

"Gas prices started shooting up in January, so I kind of lucked out in a way," said Kevin Barrett.

He lost his car last year but now as he’s preparing to purchase another, gas mileage is the deciding factor.

“I’m just a regular guy," said Barrett. "I don’t have a six-figure job, so I have to be careful. So, you know, I’m stuck to two-door cars, Sebrings, Hondas.”

Valley Metro says they have seen an increase in ridership on both the light rail and in people vanpooling to work.

"The group pays for gas, but they share that cost between the members," said Madeline Phipps with Valley Metro.

10 new van-pool groups, ranging from 6 to 15 people, have started so far in 2022.

Through the end of July, new vanpool groups get their first month free.

"All you do is you find a group of colleagues if you are all kind of living pretty close to the same location and you have a similar commute to work," said Phipps.

Valley Metro also uses a free commute match site to help people find a group that fits their needs.

Compared to January through May of last year, Valley Metro said they have seen a 44% increase in people looking for a match during the same time period in 2022.

With no end in sight, people say lower-cost options are essential.

"I need to find alternatives like this is not going to be livable for me," said Cook.