Gas is a very precious commodity for both industrial and domestic use. In developed nations like the United States, gas is very paramount for a number of activities by its citizens and industries. To a consumer, gas is used to run car engines, heat houses, in lawn mowers and many more. However, recent prices of gasoline have skyrocketed to the highest levels ever witnessed. It is the consumer that feels the pinch when he or she goes to buy gas in a gas station. The question is what causes these prices to go up? Who is to blame for all this? What steps should the government take in order to curb this issue?
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As a reaction to high gasoline prices, research has it that there have been major shifts in the driving habits of most Americans while family budgets are being squeezed. Some have even considered purchasing cars that save on fuel, as well as, consolidating most of their daily activities to cut back on fuel expenditure. Notably, most Americans think that there is no possible solution in the near future that would bring down gas prices, not with the current political instability in most of the oil producing countries. It is surprising to note that most Americans think of this issue as a long-lasting one.
The sagging U.S. economy increases the burden on consumers. It is evident that the gas problem has made most Americans change their lifestyles on a permanent basis. There are a number of possible solutions to this issue. Some researchers have suggested that, the United States should start reducing their dependence on foreign oil and start thinking of alternative energy products. There is need for an urgent solution before the situation gets out of hand. Notably, the global demand for oil is ever increasing while the supply remains restraint. For the gas issue to be addressed, policy makers need to focus on addressing the supply and demand of the commodity. Technology can be enhanced to make sure that the United States produces its own oil. Without this, the gas prices will continue to go up as demand increases.
The issue of importing oil from other countries should be dealt with once and for all because, when these countries decide to raise oil prices, the consumer at the pump will also be affected. Moreover, if there is a natural disaster in some of these countries such as earthquakes that could disrupt oil supply to the United States, things will definitely become worse. There have been reports of numerous oil reserves that are in the United States and its surroundings. The government should invest heavily on how to drill these oil reserves, which will significantly reduce oil dependency on other nations (Dargay & Dermot, 2010).
Another important step towards reducing reliance on gas would be the use of alternative means of transport that do not use a lot of gas, for example, carpooling, bicycles, or intercity transit systems. If the society changed the way they travel, there would be a less demand for oil, which will significantly bring down the oil prices. On the other hand, people should start focusing on ways of maintaining natural resources to avoid depletion that could be disastrous in the future.
Another important point to note is that, gas prices do relate to oil prices. If there is a hike in the oil prices, definitely there will be a rise in the prices of gas; crude oil is very important in making gas. On the sidelines, the Organization of Petroleum producing countries (OPEC) has done a lot in affecting gas prices. Notably, the organization recently increased crude oil prices, which then affected gas price in the United States and other countries (Mabro, 2006). While the OPEC tries a number of interventions to help reduce the problem, nothing is forthcoming. It all depends with the rate of consumptions of oil and demands in the future.
Another important point to note is that, oil and gas has been a contentious issue due to the government's involvement in terms of regulations and taxes. Despite all the wars involving the United States, there are some government involvement that have gone a long way in preventing oil prices from going up further. However, taxes imposed on gasoline have been on the increase in the last decade. These taxes force oil companies to hike their prices to compensate for their profits. If these taxes are removed or reduced, there will be a significant reduction in gas prices. All in all, a reduction in government's involvement will see a reduction in oil prices.
In conclusion, it is evident that current gas prices are out of control. A lot has to be done in order to fix this pressing issue. The government and those concerned should start focusing on issues that drive these prices up. It is important to note that, with lower gas prices, the economy would definitely improve (Mabro, 2006). Reports show that most Americans are in debt as a result of the rising gas prices. Some of the reasons as to why these prices keep going up include the supply and demand aspect, dependency of oil from other countries, and natural disasters like the Katrina. If most of these problems could be fixed, dependency on oil will be a thing in the past.