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Alternative Transportation Options for Rural Communities as Gas Prices Continue To Rise


All across the United States, summer is a time for breaks from school, spending time outside, road trips, and family vacations. Unfortunately, this summer has also brought about rising gas prices, making filling up at the pump even more expensive.


As of mid-June 2022, the average national gas price was over $5 per gallon—the highest ever recorded average price. However, in some states, gas prices continue to rise even higher. For example, California holds the highest average price out of any state at nearly $6.30 per gallon. Even in more rural and less-populated areas of the country, the rise in gas prices is unprecedented. The average gas price in Missouri in June 2022 is over $4.50.


Gas prices have been steadily rising for decades, but this recent hike was more abrupt and severe than anyone expected. While this increase has affected nearly all drivers around the country, it can particularly impact individuals living in rural communities since many of them rely on personal transportation to get to where they need to go, like work, school, the store, and more. These drives are also typically longer since they are driving from greater distances. So, what transportation alternatives do rural communities have to help avoid soaring gas prices?


One of the best options is rural transit services like OATS Transit. At OATS, our mission is to enhance the quality of life for individuals throughout Missouri by providing safe, caring, and reliable transportation services. We safely transport passengers to their destinations, treat them with respect and compassion, as well as achieve and maintain maximum standards of performance. Our services also offer an affordable alternative for individuals looking to cut down on gas costs. In this article, we’ll also highlight a few other alternative transportation solutions to cars.


Alternative Modes of Transportation That Can Help Reduce Your Gas Spending

  • Walk or Bike - Two simple alternative transportation methods are walking and biking. These two methods allow you to get where you need to go without requiring any source of fuel, except your body’s energy. In addition to reducing your transportation costs, these options can also help to improve your health. While these are great options for short distances, they are not always viable depending on your needs, your mobility, and where you are going.

  • Go Electric - Another transportation alternative is to go electric. There are many different options—scooters, bikes, and cars—that can allow you to get around without spending all your money at the gas pump. Electric forms of transportation allow you to refuel for significantly less money. In fact, driving and refueling an electric vehicle can be anywhere from 3 to 6 times cheaper than fueling a gas-powered vehicle. However, investing in any form of electric vehicle can come with a high upfront cost, and is not an accessible or viable option for everyone.

  • Public Transportation and Rural Transit Services - Finally, one of the best and easiest ways to achieve cost savings using alternative transportation is by using public transportation and rural transit services. Even before the recent spike in gas costs, AAA estimated that it costs nearly $9,000 to own and operate a car each year once all of the maintenance, fuel, insurance, and other fees are factored in.


In comparison, using public transit and rural transit services generally only costs a few dollars per ride. These services also offer the flexibility of being able to catch rides at multiple times a day, not having to worry about finding parking or paying tolls, not having to drive in traffic, and many other benefits.


Moreso, rural transit services like OATS Transit go above and beyond for our riders, as we offer safe, caring, and reliable transportation services to get you where you need to be, no matter if it is a doctor appointment, a community center, the store, or anywhere else.


How Rural Transit Services Like OATS Transit Can Help Reduce Spending on Gas


OATS Transit offers more than just transit services, we offer our riders the care and commitment of everyone in our organization. The individuals we serve are our top priority, and we are always doing everything we can to make a positive impact in their lives.


We’re a leading specialized transportation agency serving 87 of the 114 counties in Missouri with our fleet of more than 700 mini-buses and minivans. Missouri has a population of over 6 million people, with more than 2 million of them (37%) living in rural areas. We serve thousands of these Missourians, including senior citizens, people with disabilities, and people of any age who live in rural areas.


One of the biggest needs of rural America is reliable and affordable transportation. Many issues arise due to limited access to important services and resources. Reliable rural transportation is a key step to helping rural populations.

If you or someone you know needs help with transportation services, contact us today and we’ll help you get where you need to go safely, reliably, and with care! If you’d like to learn more about what we do, find out how to ride, make a donation to support our work, or apply for one of our available driving positions!