Skyrocketing gas prices

Gas Nozzle 2

Courtesy of Exxon

Students are being forced to cut back on their driving because of high gas prices.

Arianna Talaie, Feature Editor
March 16, 2011
Filed under News

A new round of political unrest in the Middle East has magnified violence and protests with round-the-clock coverage on CNN, but the upheaval has also made its mark locally in skyrocketing gas prices. Junior Marcus Harvey has had to pay for his own gas ever since he bought his own car. “Higher gas prices have made me cut back on food and other essentials,” said Harvey.

During the past few weeks, gas prices have increased by nearly 10 percent, and according to some economists, they will not be decreasing again anytime soon. Several major news organizations have already predicted that prices will rise to five dollars per gallon by this summer.

“One of the key factors causing the present spike in prices is the crude oil market,” said economics teacher Dr. Donald Cooper. “Oil is traded in the commodity market, which is similar to the stock market. At the present time, there is an extremely high demand in the world for crude oil.”

Parallel to the demands of the oil market is the political instability within many oil-producing nations, which has also caused crude oil prices to surge.

“Traders are afraid that future oil supply will be lower because of the destruction of oil wells, pipelines, or the Suez Canal,” said Dr. Cooper. “This causes the oil traders to demand higher prices for crude oil because of the possibility that supply will be lower than the demand in the future.”

A swift decrease in prices does not seem likely in the near future, as oil refineries must alter their gasoline formulas in order to protect the late spring and summer air quality.

“The supply becomes less because of the spring conversion, and the prices will rise because the demand has not changed,” said Dr. Cooper.

But just how big of an impact will the soaring cost of gas have on students? Langley has the largest geographic attendance area in Fairfax County, meaning that students as a whole live farther away from school than those at any other high school, and therefore have a longer commute.

Nonetheless, there are simple ways to avoid spending large sums of money. Carpooling is easy for students who drive, and the school bus is always a free alternative to those who are not behind the wheel. “As gas prices rise, I am willing to cut out my Chipotle funds and only drive when necessary,” said Harvey.

 “Everyone is going to have to cut back a little,” said finance teacher Mr. Everett Rice. “You can’t drive around without a real reason anymore.”

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