Opinion: Government needs to combat rising gas prices

On February 21st, the Washington Post reported that gas prices have risen for the 35th consecutive day nationally. This is completely ridiculous. In a little over a month in Louisville, gas prices went from a little over $3 a gallon to over $3.80 a gallon. Is this a joke? Louisville was also below the national average for the price of a gallon of gas and is now over the national average. How do we go from below average to above average? If we were below the national average then, shouldn’t we be below average now? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I for one would like an answer to why we are now above the national average.

This is a problem that will affect everyone across the country sooner or later. You would think that a rise in gas prices would only affect people who drive but that just isn’t true. A continuous and lasting rise in gas prices will affect everything we purchase. Products have to be transported from where they are produced to the store to be consumed. It takes fuel to power transportation. So companies have to spend more money on fuel which cuts into their profit. To offset these costs and decrease profit, they pass the cost onto the consumer, which means a rise in all the products you purchase.

The rise in gas prices are hurting the students that drive to school and have to pay for their own gas. As prices rise, students have to shell out more of their hard earned paychecks to be able to drive to school. This means that students will no longer have extra money for things they enjoy doing like going to the movies unless they start riding the school bus. Riding the school bus isn’t a big deal unless you consider that many buses are overcrowded. If more students have to ride the bus then students will have to start sitting three people to a seat that was make for two people to sit in, which causes safety issues.

Rising gas prices are also hurting the economy. As people spend more on gas and products, they have less money to spend and have to start cutting back. People cannot go out to eat as much or do many of the other things they enjoy and might cut back on other purchases. This is how the most recent recession happened. Companies started selling fewer products and had to start laying people off as well as cutting back on hours. This caused a rise in the unemployment rate and foreclosures as well as less money being pumped into the economy, which just made the problem worse. The government had to step in, putting the United States into an even larger deficit. This deficit is still a problem that the government is trying to handle. It is still causing problems for American citizens and probably will be for a long time. It is time for the government to step in before they have to intervene financially.

According to an article on CNN, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, “is also believed to have cut production by about 1 million barrels a day in the last few months.” The article stated that OPEC did this partly because oil production has risen in other places such as the United States. At this point, those one million barrels a day are needed to help combat the rising prices. The U.S. needs to convince the members of OPEC to bring back the production of those barrels. Many refineries have shut down or will soon shut down for maintenance before they switch to their summer gasoline according to the CNN article. The refineries planning to shut down should wait until the other refineries are open to prevent even higher prices. The American citizens cannot afford this continuous rise in gasoline and it will only hurt the United States, so something must be done.