Today: Mar 01, 2024

Gas on the up and up

Are gas companies taking advantage of consumers?

Sarah Green, Staff Writer:

Nation’s Top Gas Prices
By State
(in dollars)

1. Hawaii – 3.995
2. California – 3.947
3. Alaska – 3.883
4. New York – 3.741
5.Connecticut – 3.734
6. Washington DC – 3.708
7. Nevada – 3.661
8. Washington – 3.645
9. Illinois – 3.638
10. West Virginia – 3.637
(Statistics Courtesy of
connecticutgasprices.com)

According to recent Gallup polls, many American consumers be¬lieve that gas will easily rise beyond four dollars this year. In fact, about half of U.S. citizens are expecting such increases. Yet what is even more shocking is the prediction by 27 percent of consumers that fuel will actually exceed five dollars. If prices actually do reach this height, gas will have spiked 42 percent from the current average ($3.53/gallon).
While prices on the West Coast have already risen to upwards of four dollars, we on the East Coast are feeling a similar increase. Many gas stations are already advertising between $3.50 per gallon and $3.99 per gallon. Lately, the changes in gas prices have been occurring on a daily basis. The incremental increases re¬flect larger increases in cost per bar¬rel of oil; for every dollar increase in oil, consumers pay about 2.5 cents more per gallon at the pump.
Many of the citizens in for¬eign nations believe that Americans should stop complaining, however. In Oslo, the capital of Norway, gas costs $9.28 per gallon – double the U.S. average. Europeans pay be¬tween $7.50 and eight dollars on average, and the Danes were shelling out $8.20 per gallon at the end of February.
These high prices are not the result of the foreign market, however. Many European countries have their own source of fossil fuels. Norway has a thriving oil industry in the North Atlantic. For these nations, the heightened prices are simply the result of politics – stiff taxes and subsidies.
For the countries with lower fuel prices, the explanation is the same. For instance, in Venezuela, India, and China, gas prices are sub¬sidized by the state. Thus, Venezuela can obtain gas for less than a dollar. Most officials predict that their prices will remain low too. It is unlikely that they will pay even 50 percent of what Americans are currently shelling out.
So what’s the deal in America? According to the media, the ris¬ing price of gas is directly linked to the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa. Is that really the truth, though? In the United States, various corporations control the pur¬chase and sale of oil rather than the government.
Businesses like Gulf, Shell, and Sunoco act independent of govern¬ment interference. In a society in which the rich are typically getting richer while the poor get poorer, I find it hard to believe that these com¬panies aren’t raking in the dough while we scrounge in our cup hold¬ers for a few more dimes to put in the tank.

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