High Gas Prices, Explained
Why are we paying such ridiculously high gas prices? If we have to drive any distance to work and there's no public transportation available, we only have two choices--quit our jobs or pay the price. Oil companies have us over a barrel. They claim it's a matter of supply and demand. The demand for fuel is higher than the amount of fuel available. Any company in the world can use this reason, and if the other companies that supply the same item go along with the price, there's nothing consumers can do except stop using the item.
Unfortunately, we've put ourselves in a bind. We found homes far from our jobs when fuel was cheaper. Many family members no longer live nearby, and if we want to see them, we have to travel. Public transportation declined when we failed to pass millages to pay for it. After all, we didn't use it. We drove ourselves. And if it is available near you and will take you where you need to go, you'll pay a high price.
Many people believe the supply and demand excuse. Others are apathetic. Everyone is frustated. Why does the price of gas jump 30 cents a gallon when the price of a barrel of oil just dropped $10.00 for the third day in a row? And when oil companies do lower prices, why is it a penny at a time?
Using the weather as an excuse may make sense to the people who are experiencing hurricanes. The rest of the country wonders why the price of gas increases when a watch is issued, rises again when a warning is issued, and jumps again if the storm actually hits. Yes, during one such storm over a year ago, the oil supply was affected. The oil company profits were higher than they've ever been during that time. Don't you just love companies that benefit from the misfortune of others?
Maybe if I owned oil companies I'd be trying to rake in the profits before incentives to use other sources of energy kick in. But if I were making the obscenely high profits oil companies are and I actually had to look at all the people who are truly suffering because of it, I'd feel pretty guilty. Do you have to choose between buying gas to get to work or buying enough food to feed your children? I'm not exaggerating. There are a lot of people in that situation.
I'm not in that situation, but 1/3 of my paycheck is already going for fuel to get to work and back. This is without any side trips. No, I don't drive a gas guzzling SUV. I drive a 1995 Chevrolet Lumina. I just have a job that's 35 miles from my home. When I got the job I lived a lot closer, but when my husband died and my employer told me the life insurance we purchased never went into effect I lost my home and had to move to a more affordable location, but that's a whole different story.
I've talked to a lot of people who ride bicycles and walk to work. That would be great, but most people don't have that option. If I did that, I'd have to leave for work as soon as I got home. Others have bought motorcycles that get a lot better gas mileage. That works for a few months out of the year where I live. The snow and ice during the rest of the year would make that difficult.
The sad thing is that everyone expects the prices to get a lot higher. They're never expected to get low again. Alternative fuels that are being explored are environmentally friendlier, but they're not cheaper. And if people can't afford to put fuel in the vehicles they have now, how can they afford to buy one of the newer vehicles that use newer methods to power them?
How can high gas prices be explained? Fuel companies say supply and demand. I look at the profits earned by oil companies the past few years and I say the answer is much shorter--it's simply greed.
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