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Gas is one of the many necessities people need to get from place to place. Gasoline is becoming more of a luxury rather than something everyone can afford due to its price increases.
Gas Price Rises
Gas prices are always fluctuating throughout the year, but this year the price has become astronomical. The current national average price for gas is $3.32. While this amount may seem low, this is the price per gallon of gas. The average amount of gas a car can hold ranges from 12 to 16 gallons. This means that filling up a car’s tank can cost up to $53.12.
The gas price has risen 16 cents more than last month!
This spike in gas prices is directly linked to the pandemic. The majority of people stayed home for work, school, and other obligations for most of 2020 and the majority of 2021. Now that things are opening up all across the country, more people are commuting and driving every day. “The decrease in oil production followed a “sudden drop in petroleum demand” caused by the coronavirus pandemic” has lead to gas prices to skyrocket according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Also, shipping delays are contributing to the rise in gas prices according to The New York Times.
To put this change in gas prices into perspective, the average gas price in October 2020 was $2.25 dollars per gallon. The average gas price in October of this year was $3.35 dollars per gallon. Within a year, the average gas price rose $1.14- such a small difference, yet, it makes a huge impact.
According to EIA, there are four major factors determined the price of gas: taxes, the cost of marketing and distribution, refining, and the cost of crude oil.
Gas price effect on students
With this rapid increase in gas prices, it’s no surprise that many people are struggling to keep up. The weight has fallen heavy on students who need to drive to work and have minimum wage jobs as teenagers.
Tiffany Marques, a senior at Colonia High School explained how inconvenient the new gas prices have been towards her daily life, “I’ve been having to put a lot more money into gas, because $20 no longer fills up my tank.” Being a student with a minimum wage job, the gas prices have also created an annoyance for her, “I get paid bi-weekly, and because of the gas price increase I have to put gas even on the weeks I don’t get paid.”
She explained how she has been needing to put gas more often, which is adding up in terms of price and time, “I also put it more frequently throughout the month. Instead of twice a month, it’s almost every week…I have to take more time out of my schedule to make sure I’m going to the gas station, especially because I’m going more frequently.”
Another senior at CHS, Hope Bizub, shared how gas prices have made her life more complicated than it needs to be, “they make me resent driving a little bit. It’s an inconvenience to me and I have to plan my schedule based on when I get paid.”
Bizub struggled with saving money because of how high the gas prices have been, “with the amount I put into savings, I feel like there’s never enough to get gas for my car. I’ve started putting less in my savings because I almost never have enough to spend because of gas.”
Relief from the Federal Oil Reserve
Some politicians have called on President Joe Biden to open the federal oil reserve in order to bring the cost of gas down. At a recent news conference, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer noted that using the Petroleum Reserve is the best way to lower the price of gasoline.
The Strategic Petroleum Reserve holds roughly 620 million barrels of crude oil in caverns underground in Louisiana and Texas. This is the largest emergency supply of oil in the world. Although is seems like a lot of oil, it would only last the nation about a month if all oil production ceased.
In a letter sent to President Biden on November 8, 11 Democrats expressed concerns about rising gas prices. “High gasoline prices have placed an undue burden on families and small businesses trying
to make ends meet, and have proven especially burdensome as our constituents continue to
recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The reserve is really there to assist if their is a war or major storm so many argue this isn’t the right reason to tap into the U.S. surplus.
If the government doesn’t intervene, consumers fear these rising prices at the pump will effect holiday plans and travel especially after many families haven’t been able to spend the holidays together because of the Covid-19 pandemic.