Gas prices drop to record lows; Sponger Nation members reveal their point of view

Gas prices drop to record lows; Sponger Nation members reveal their point of view

Gabrielle Zsido

Gas prices have recently hit record lows, influenced by global events. Members of Sponger Nation welcome this positive turn and have hope for a more favorable future and cost per gallon.  

For the many members of Sponger Nation who habitually drive, the previous, higher prices for a gallon of gasoline have hit them deep in the pocket.  

Max Werder, a senior in Sponger Nation, has noticed the decrease in gas prices since the summer. A member of the Wrestling Team, NHS, Student Council, and soon Track & Field, Werder is thankful for this relief in fuel cost.  

“Gas is something I need,” said Werder. “With the demands of getting older and starting to have your own responsibilities, [the cost of] driving is a side effect.” 

 Werder felt the burn when gas prices were spiking, and the impact continues to influence his decisions to this day. 

“I have to be more conscious about how much I’m driving, and my friends and I have begun to carpool a lot more often,” said Werder when reflecting on how gas prices affect his life. “The gas prices have caused me to skip out on doing things over the weekend (occasionally) because I need the money for something else.” 

A variety of events around the world are theorized to have contributed to the earlier rise and more current decrease in fuel prices. Although it is difficult to identify which events are the primary drivers of the fluctuating cost of fuel, the conflict in Europe is generally agreed to have played a major role.  

Russia “…launched an undeclared war…” on the country of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022, after conflict dating back to 2014. Subsequently, U.S. gas prices, which follow the laws of supply and demand, rose dramatically as a result of the West’s response to the Russian aggression: financial sanctions that restricted Russian oil transactions. Russia typically provides 10% of global oil supply ; therefore, the sanctions resulted in a decrease in the oil supply.   

The availability and cost of crude oil, or unrefined petroleum, significantly contributes to the price of gasoline. As crude oil prices increase due to reduced supply, gas prices follow in suit; hence why the conflict in the Ukraine impacted us here at the pump.  

Crude oil prices have been lowering from their spike in June (the highest week averaging $120.44 per barrel), though, dropping back into the 80s and more recently 70s, prices are more reflective of those at the beginning of the year as reported by West Texas Intermediate (WTI) 

Accordingly,  Weekly U.S. Regular All Formulations Retail Gasoline Prices dropped to $3.239 per gallon as of the week ending on December 12th, 2022. Currently, this is the lowest reported weekly cost of the year, slightly lower than the $3.315 per gallon cost one year ago.  

The government is argued to have had a role in this price decrease.  

The U.S. Department of Energy has been working with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to lower gas prices for Americans by releasing barrels of oil for consumption , which essentially increases supply for the purpose of helping better meet demand and lower prices at the pump. 

Yet prices aren’t always the result of planned decisions; some wild cards, like our recent economic climate, could inadvertently have affected the cost of gas as well. 

But crude oil seems to usually provide greater insight as to why gas prices fluctuate and seem to be on the decrease.  

As for the future,  gas prices are predicted to average even lower in the upcoming year, using WTI as an industry benchmark, by almost 10 dollars. Likewise, as compared to this year’s predicted gas price of $3.99 per gallon, next year’s gas price is expected to average $3.51 per gallon in 2023.  This may also be related to the predictions of global oil inventories rising in the next year, resulting in a domino affect of lower oil and gas prices. 

“All in all, driving has become too much of a necessity for people to simply ‘drive less’ when gas prices change,” said Werder, showing how Sponger Nation can now look forward to more affordable driving and less anxiety at the pump.