The Rise in Gas Prices: How Can U.S. Tackle the Fuel Increase?

By Kyle Sepe

Elm Staff Writer

Whether it is struggling to fill the gas tank to drive to work or to buy groceries, rising gas prices are negatively affecting our lives.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicates that the current average price of gasoline in the United States is $3.77 per gallon. Only a year ago, gas prices were averaging $2.78 per gallon, and in Jan. of 2009 the average price was $1.89 per gallon. Thus, gas prices have doubled since the current administration took office.

In other words, if you had a car in Jan.of 2009 that had a 20 gallon gas tank, it would have cost just about $38 to fill. If you had that same car today, it would cost you $75 to fill up. Is this a good thing?

Regardless, why is this happening?

In terms of domestic policy, we are exporting our own crude oil. There is an increased demand for these oil exports, yet domestic demand is down, according to recent figures published by the EIA. If we are using less gasoline, why aren’t prices coming down?

Could it be the devaluation of the dollar that is causing the rise at the pumps? The director of the Hudson Institute posted that continued increase in the national debt would lead to further devaluation of the dollar, which will lead to higher gasoline prices.

After the BP Oil spill in 2010, oil drilling was restricted significantly and with pressure from environmental activists, construction of the Keystone Pipeline was denied. Yet some argue that global politics is to blame. With political turmoil in Libya and the uncertainty of Israeli military action against Iran, anxiety in the region exists, which could also have an impact on prices due to fear of oil reserve closure.

As stated by CNN, in reference to drilling, President Barack Obama declared in 2008, “My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices.” Conversely, the Secretary of Energy was quoted in 2008 during an interview for the Wall Street Journal as saying, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Prices in parts of Europe are currently averaging $8 per gallon. Could this be the push he is looking for to encourage Americans to purchase electric cars?

According to the director of Entitlement and Budget Policy for the Heartland Institute, gas prices could reach $5 per gallon throughout most of the country by November of this year. Parts of California and Hawaii have already reached the $5 per gallon mark.

If the national debt continues to increase during a potential second term of this administration as it has during this term, the debt would likely rise to $22 trillion, thus gas prices could reach well over $7 per gallon by 2015, as pronounced by Penn Financial Group.

So what is the quandary and how can the rise in gas prices be tackled? A few options include lifting drilling restrictions, constructing the Keystone pipeline, and somehow calming fears over unrest in the Middle East, or perhaps changing the policies of the current administration. This debate can pivot in any direction and the numbers can be dressed up and crunched every which way, but what can be agreed on is that something needs to change. It’s a matter of “what” that seems to be disputed.

Nevertheless, rising gas prices are not a good thing.

One thought on “The Rise in Gas Prices: How Can U.S. Tackle the Fuel Increase?

  1. I would love to know where this $2/gallon gas was in 2009, because there hasn’t been anywhere in at least 5 years that you could get it for less than $2 at the pump.

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