Opinion

Why are gas prices so outrageous?

Gas prices are always a sore topic in America, and with summer approaching once again, absurd predictions for the projected summer gas prices are driving the frenzy ever wilder.
“I heard $7 a gallon from somewhere,” said one person to another as they each weigh in with their abundant political and economic insight. Here’s the amusing part though: people seem to think Obama is entirely at fault.
Everyone should step back for a minute and think about that assumption. If Obama were truly at fault for the rising gas prices, that would also assume he is in direct control of several things: oil companies, all price-fixing included; state taxes and insurance on gas stations; and the most fun of all, the ever-volatile Middle-Eastern political situation.
I’m going to tackle the latter first. The Obama administration released details of the percentage of net oil imports, which reached a high of 60 percent in ’05 and ’06. It has been lowered to 45 percent . What this shows is that our dependence on foreign oil is decreasing, so why are the prices still increasing? That’s a different story entirely.
If the president magically got the power to quell the conflicts that seem to be constantly raging in the Middle East-one in particular has been going on for over 3,000 years-we’d have a lot more to celebrate than lower gas prices, like our own personal unicorns to ride.
Moving on, the Sherman Anti-Trust act is a legislation designed to stop exactly what is happening today. Have you ever wondered why, when one gas station’s prices go up, the one across the street is sure to follow? Let’s face it, these corporations are clearly engaged in price-fixing, because if they weren’t, one gas station could drop to a dollar less than everybody else and completely clean house. So why hasn’t this been stopped? Oil companies are among the main contributors to election funding, but not just in presidential elections; every congressional election also holds weight, and a republican congress is currently blocking many of Obama’s reform legislations. If the president had enough power to simply make rules right over congress, we’d be a dictatorship. Does anyone really want that?
The issue I haven’t tackled yet is simple. People often poke fun at New Jersey for not being a self-serve gas state, but here’s the truth: gas prices are consistently 10 to 20 cents lower there than many other locations, due to cheaper insurance paid by the station itself. If you have any random person pumping gas at a station, insurance costs are higher because of higher accident risk.
I’ve only listed three factors, but that’s because they’re the easiest to point out. In short, don’t blame one man for the condition of a staple of life. Honestyl, Shakespeare had the public nailed all the way back in 1600: “He which is was wished until he were. This common body…goes to, and back, lackeying the varying tide, to rot itself with motion.”
– Nick Minarik