Rising gas costs not yet affecting sports travel

With the cost of gasoline skyrocketing since the Russian invasion of Ukraine — in Bladen County that rise is now nearing $1 per gallon on the past few weeks — concerns have arisen over fuel costs for school activities like athletics.

According to the financial department with Bladen County Schools, the cost for fuel from July 2019 through February 2020 was about $174,443 and, by comparison, the cost for fuel from July 2020 through February 2022 was about $187,364 — a rise of about $12,921.

With nearly a 20% rise in fuel prices in just the last few weeks, and still rising, the local cost to the school district could be astronomical.

Still, at this time, the school district is not anticipating any curtailment in activities needing buses for travel.

“At this time, activities planned for the remainder of the school year will proceed as scheduled,” said Elly Johnson, the public in formation officer for Bladen County Schools. “We will continue to monitor fuel prices and make any changes, if needed, before the start of the 2022-2023 school year.”

That’s the same feeling at East Bladen High, where Athletics Director Patty Evers said, “here has been no discussion relating to gas prices.”

At West Bladen High, Athletics Director Travis Pait echoed that there have been no discussions about fuel costs.

“I’m confident we will get through the spring,” he said. “Fall would be where problems would arise if the prices stay elevated.”

When asked whether there was a chance baseball and softball teams might choose to play doubleheaders rather than a home-and-home series, Pait said, “(those are) the only sports that would be feasible … I would say that is a possibility in those sports, but not likely.“

In Bladen County, as of Wednesday, the average cost of unleaded gasoline was $4.054 per gallon.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or [email protected].

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