The Gas Price Explosion


Photo from: Unsplash

Joshua Lasarte, Enterprise Editor

   An insane spike in gas prices all over the country can be added to the list of hardships, including a supply chain shortage, empty grocery store shelves, and insanely high housing prices. Gas prices began to rise at the start of the year with a major spike in demand for gas because of more people moving around. With gas going to almost $8 a gallon in some places, and unfortunately for president Joe Biden, lots of people were quick to blame him.

   At the start of Biden’s presidency, he shut down the Keystone pipeline and put major limitations on fracking which both caused outrage and slightly increased gas prices. The biggest factor to the rising gas prices was making America rely on foreign energy instead of continuing America’s energy independence like under the Trump administration. While gas was steadily rising over the year, the Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a major spike in prices because of America’s reliance on foreign oil. While only a fraction of the US’s oil comes from Russia, the effects of the invasion went all through Europe causing our prices to spike. According to the Washington Post, the average price for a gallon of gas right now is $4.11 which is almost double the $2.18 that was seen two years ago in Trump’s final year.

   In order to try and curb the price increase, President Biden tapped into the US’s emergency oil reserve that is supposed to be used for war time, and released 180 million barrels of oil which is the same as the global demand for oil for two days. Although these reserves are supposed to be used for war and extreme crises, the Biden administration has tapped into the reserve three times in the last six months trying to stop the rise in oil prices. 

   Economic hardship has been very prevalent in America over the past few years since the pandemic started; these gas prices contributed to a four-decade high rate of inflation. On top of record inflation, the current average gas price is the highest ever, breaking the record from 2008 right before the financial crisis happened. Senior Jordan Collazo said, “Even though my car is fuel efficient and has a high mpg, I still end up paying close to $50 each time I fill up. I still remember at one point in time only paying $19 for a full tank, it was crazy. I know my wallet is hurting and I’m sure [others’ wallets] are too.” There is hope that gas prices may come down due to crude oil prices dropping by almost $30 a barrel. US oil producers have also ramped up their production but the impact will take a while to fully affect the market and bring prices down.

   European countries and Japan have followed the US’s example and have dipped into their reserves which will add 30-50 million barrels of oil into the global market over six months. Although this seems very helpful, it is predicted that it will have limited effects on prices because of the insanely high supply and demand. The amount of oil that was taken off the global market still outweighs the amount that is being put in by other countries. 

   The oil market has continued to be stagnant because of the limitations on new production, and the decision to not buy Russian oil will take almost 3 million barrels of oil off the world market everyday. Russia supplies only eight percent of the US’s oil but 12% of the global market’s oil.