Friday, April 06, 2012

Why Aren't We Mad About Gas Prices

In 2004, gas prices were $1.61, in 2006 $2.86, in 2007 $3.11, in 2008 gas prices reached $4.12. Gas prices have again increased to over $4.00 a gallon for regular gas. According to the US Energy Information Administration gas prices consists of 4 factors: crude oil 53%, federal and state taxes 22%, refining costs and profits 14%, and distribution and marketing 11%. When crude oil prices increase consumers see an at the gas pump.

U.S. oil production is the highest it has been in the past eight years. However, the U.S. has relied on the least amount of foreign oil in the last 16 years, but the media would have you believe otherwise. Gas prices do not increase or decrease based on who is elected President. Gas prices are affected by the declining value of the dollar overseas, the threats of war or fuel shortages, natural disasters and gas prices also increase due to demand. The wars in Libya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters have also affected gas prices.

Oil production was increased worldwide. The value of the dollar continues decline. The media blames high gas prices on the greed of oil companies and lack of government programs and reform. However, the government cannot control supply and demand. There has been an increase in oil demand in India and China as well as Venezuela and the Middle East. Gas in Oslo, Norway is $9.33, in Rome, Italy it is $8.51.

Americans are partly to blame for the high gas prices. One reason demand in the U.S. remains high is due to consumers driving SUVs and large trucks. To permanently lower gas prices we must explore oil exploration and alternative oil sources. Brazil uses Ethanol and is no longer dependent on gas. Brazil is the largest exporter of ethanol. Ethanol produced from sugarcane is cheaper, provides energy that is renewable and has a lower carbon footprint. Bioethanol reduces air pollution and reduces global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Several studies have shown that sugarcane based ethanol reduces greenhouse gases by 86 - 90%.

Gas prices will continue to spike through the summer as many people drive to visit their favorite vacation spot because it some cases, driving costs less than flying a family of four. Other alternatives to high gas prices are using public transportation, walking, carpooling or telecommuting.

Do more than just complain. Complaining only has a short-term affect unless you take action. We can’t change the high gas prices if we continue to buy gas guzzlers. We can’t change gas prices if we drive one mile to go to the store instead of walking. We can’t improve the environment if we continue to drive and emit gas fumes into the air or delay getting oil changes every 3,000 miles. I used to fill up my gas tank with $12 now it takes $38.

Since this is an election year make you voice heard by asking for change. Don’t just say you don’t like the high gas prices, explain to politicians how it affects your life and provide possible suggestions for helping to lower gas prices. Here are 8 tips to save money on gas.

1. Drive the speed limit.
2. Buy a fuel-efficient car.
3. Drive with the windows down instead of using the air conditioner.
4. Combine nearby trips on the same day.
5. Buy gas early in the morning.
6. Drive 2-3 car lengths behind the car in front of you. This will require you to stop and accelerate less often.
7. Use cruise control when driving on the highway.
8. Keep tires properly inflated.

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