Remember when gas prices were in the double-digits? Well, maybe you don’t, but your parents probably do. The point is that those days have long passed in favor of a new era with gas prices increasing dramatically and affecting nearly everyone who owns a car or drives at all.
In mid-April, the price of regular gas hovered around $3.89 a gallon in Kettering, and many people expect the summer months to bring prices topping $4 – and maybe even $5 – a gallon. So far, the highest average retail price for a gallon of regular gas in the United States was $4.11, back on July 7, 2008.
Teenagers, of course, are affected just like everyone else, but the high gas prices seem especially cruel to young adults who only recently got their first taste of the kind of freedom that comes with having a driver’s license. Many now find it difficult to justify driving to a friend’s house to hang out, let alone cruising around town with a friend.
“Some nights I just have my friends over at my house instead of going out driving around; I hate spending money on gas and it is way too expensive,” said Fairmont senior Mitch Ballard.
In fact, many students, including Fairmont junior Alison Dale, are on the hunt for jobs in order to be able to afford gasoline. “I always used to ask my parents for money so I could pay for gas, but now I have to pay for it myself. I’ve been looking for a job since gas has become even more expensive,” she said.
In order to avoid wasting money on gasoline, carpooling has also become much more popular with people such as Kettering resident Mary Rahimi, who frequently carpools with her friends in order to save money on gas. In Rahimi’s opinion, this is a useful way to get around and a great way to help the environment. “I carpool with friends whenever we go out because it is a great way to save money and I don’t usually have to drive,” she said.
But for some people struggling with high gas prices, cars don’t even have to be in the picture. Since the weather is getting nicer, more people have turned to bike riding, which seems to have become very popular, especially on university campuses.
So, why is gas so expensive? The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the single biggest factor in the price of gas is the cost of the crude oil from which it’s made. The price of crude oil, in turn, is driven by supply and demand. As the worldwide demand has risen, the suppliers and refiners have had a harder time keeping up, so the price rises.
News channel MSNBC has also done research showing that since gas prices are rising, so are prices on some food products. They say that this is mainly due to the cost involved in transporting food across the nation.
The price of gas is leading people to make more efficient choices when it comes to driving around. “Now I try to drive less so I can save more money,” said Dale. “I’m thinking about riding my bike … or who knows? Maybe I’ll buy a Segway!”