Reasons for fuel prices puzzling

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I went to my hometown of Great Bend, Kan., two Fridays ago, and I noticed that gasoline cost $3.15 per gallon. A few days later, I was happy to see the prices drop to $3.11. But it wasn’t until March 18 that I noticed that gas was at $3.09. I was ecstatic.

I should not have been ecstatic about that price. As a matter of fact, nobody should be.

It’s now obvious to most Americans that life will never be the same at the pump.

Since the beginning of the new millennium, fuel prices have been on a gradual increase to ridiculous proportions. According to a Feb. 27 CBS report on, economists predict average gas prices to reach $4 per gallon by this summer. Many consumers are simply sitting back and accepting this bitter reality.

The CBS report claims that growing demand in oil, especially with the upcoming warmer seasons, is the prime cause for spiking prices. If you combine that with the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, you’ll get a lot of headaches at the pump.

In June 2007, ABC consumer reporter John Stossell cited several reasons for high fuel prices.

“So, demand is up 3 percent in the last year, but there’s only 1 percent more supply, because refineries can’t refine more gasoline,” Stossell wrote. “And that’s not surprising because refineries are old – not one has been built in America since 1976. One reason is that local opposition and tough environmental rules helped make them unprofitable to build.”

While those are legitimate reasons, other alleged causes of the crisis have left a lot of heads spinning.

On March 5, when oil prices hit $104 per barrel, NBC reported how the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Counties rebuffed calls to increase oil output after accusing the United States of economic “mismanagement.”

Afterward, President Bush made the following comments at a conference in Washington: “America has got to change its habit. Dependency on oil presents a real challenge to our economy.”

I never thought I’d see the day when Bush tells America to get off oil. But there you have it – OPEC blames the United States’ economic mismanagement for oil prices; Bush blames the American people – and states the obvious, yet again.

Nothing gets my blood boiling more than what the Associated Press reported on March 9. The article stated how survey editor, Trilby Lundberg, indicated that prices would continue rising because of Daylight Savings Time and the approach of warmer weather. I have a hard enough time with the warmer weather part – but Daylight Savings Time?

To sum it up: my grandfather is a CEO of an oil company in central Kansas.

All his life he has known that one day oil would be more than $100 a barrel.

However, he never thought he’d live to see that day come. Better yet, there’s really not a clear answer as to what is causing the spike.

Until the United States can figure out what else might be causing these ridiculous spikes in prices, many of us will suffer a “great depression” on our own individual levels.

Grady Bolding is a junior in theater. Please send comments to

[email protected]

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