Spiraling gas prices force US schoolchildren to hoof it

Sri Lanka's state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene (L) takes part in a press conference in Colombo on April 24, 2019. - A Sri Lankan security dragnet hunting those responsible for horrifying bombings that claimed more than 350 lives has scooped up a further 18 suspects, police said April 24, as pressure mounted on politicians to explain why no one acted on intelligence warnings. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2008 (AFP) – US school children will face longer walks to the bus stop, longer days and shorter weeks at school, while university students are pushed to take online courses, all thanks to relentless spiraling fuel prices.

Several counties in the central-eastern state of Maryland are considering giving their yellow school buses shorter routes to save gas, widening the minimum pick-up radius from the standard one mile (1.6 kilometers) for primary schoolchildren and two miles (3.2 kilometers) for high schoolers.

“Gas is very expensive, they want have something in place that would allow the superintendent to react, to make adjustments to those distances and bus routes, if necessary, if gas become even more expensive,” said Montgomery County Public School spokesman Chris Cram.

The minimum pickup distances have remained unchanged for 12 years, and Cram refused to estimate by how much they would increase should authorities adopt the measure.

However, he was forthcoming about fuel consumption, saying the county had based its 2007/2008 school year fuel budget for its 1,274 school buses on an average price of 2.74 dollars per gallon (3.78 liters), when it has already shot past 4.0 dollars.

That means that in