Picking our pockets at the pump

By Kelly McKee Paul Nasella
September 23, 2004


Doesn’t it feel like each time you pay at a gas station you leave with a little less change in your pocket? According to the Department of Energy gas prices have risen by over twelve cents per gallon since September 2003. Today with gas prices averaging on $1.87 per gallon across the states and soaring at $2.15 per gallon in California, it is clear that ‘oil’s not well’ in this industry.

This is an issue that Americans have been less than ‘pumped’ about for decades. According to the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) Americans drive more than 2.6 trillion miles per year, with personal vehicles using over 115 billion gallons of fuel alone. And this is on the increase. Protests are frequent, especially during an election year when politicians are forced to actually address the complaints.

As prime candidates, Republican President George. W .Bush and Democrat John Kerry have both expressed their views and concerns on the matter. Bush’s campaign calls for the boosting of U.S. energy supplies through drilling in such areas as the Alaskan Natural Wildlife Reserve. In opposition Kerry puts the emphasis on reducing demand for oil through conservation and alternative energies.

Whichever administration succeeds, declining gas prices will always have opposition from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). This organization is responsible for over forty percent of the world’s crude oil production and will reduce production when it requires a larger profit.

Accordingly the threat of yield disruptions in Iraq due to the ongoing war as well as disruptions in Russia that also affect the markets, consequently pushing up the price of gasoline around the globe.

It is clear that solutions to this problem are not easily attainable, but it must be considered just how big a problem Americans are facing in a global context. These prices are reflected across Europe due to a vast taxation of up to 75 percent compared to the U.S. average of 26 percent. Other nations such as Hong Kong and Japan are also affected by these high prices.

Allowing for this international data, it may be considered that the protests by the United States citizen on gas prices are a lot of hot air. However, to Cabrini commuters, the rise in gas prices have not gone unnoticed.

Senior Megan Mirzoeff, now living off campus, is forced to visit the pump every other day. According to Mirzoeff the increase in price is visible but does not deter her from filling up. “There’s nothing really to be done about it. People have to realize that factors such as the war and inflation are bound to affect the prices,” Mirzoeff said.

In a nation where the average car ownership is 1.77 cars per household, with 20 percent of households owning three or more cars, the need for gas is not going to disappear. So as the supply of crude oil diminishes and until America embraces the electric car over the S.U.V., it is predictable that the price of gas will rise, just as science intended.

Posted to the web by Cecelia Francisco

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Kelly McKee Paul Nasella

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