Gas Pains

While high gas prices are currently soaking students out of their money, an SHSU economics professor said the trend is likely to end in the near future and gas prices will soon drop.The average gas price for regular unleaded in Houston is $1.53 and $1.57 in Dallas, both more than 20 cents higher than the same time last year. Nationwide the average is $1.68, up by nearly 30 cents from the same time last year according to the American Automobile Association Daily Fuel Gauge Report.Assistant Professor of Economics Doug Berg said the war in Iraq has most likely not affected the price of gasoline, since now the nation is producing more oil than it was prior to the war. He said the causes are most likely from domestic sources.”In the summer, more people are taking driving vacations inside the country instead of flying,” Berg said.After the summer ended, however, the gas prices continued to rise.”The demand for gasoline was gasoline was down and the prices stayed the same,” Berg said. “Why? One reason was because the oil pipeline that crosses the southern USA broke.”Berg said because of the pipeline break, there was a surplus of oil on one side of the nation and a shortage on the other, which affected the gas supply. Berg added that the high prices would ultimately cause cost of gasoline to drop back down once supply levels rise.”All these things will end eventually, because if the price of gasoline gets way too high, you have the opportunity to make an abnormal profit,” Berg said. “Well, nothing brings out the supply than the chance for profit.”With the rise in prices, more and more companies will be try to offer their gasoline into the market, creating another surplus and the market will dictate prices will drop.Berg said the oil refining capacity in the United States has remained fairly stable for the last couple of years, though some companies may chose to clean their refineries during high price yield times of the year in order to strategically decrease supply and therefore raise prices higher.”Gas refineries may shut down for maintenance during high demand periods in order raise prices to minimize loss from shutdowns,” Berg said.Still, despite the recent rise in prices, Berg said the price of gas has gone down considerably since the 1960s, and the cost is much lower than in other industrialized nations. This is due to the fact the tax on oil is less because it is considered an inelastic commodity, which means demand for gasoline is not affected by its cost.Freshman Erica Haltom said she feels the price of gas is currently too high.”You just shouldn’t have to pay close to $2 for a gallon, that’s ridiculous,” Haltom said.She added the cost of gas does not alter the amount she puts in her gas tank.”I have to drive home on the weekends, so I always have to have enough gas,” she said.Freshman Brittany Clark said that she believe the war in Iraq is affecting the price.”Because it’s scarce and we’re fighting the them, and they don’t want to give it to us,” she said.Tips to prevent gas loss:–Clean out your car and don’t weigh it down.–Get your car tune-up–If you drive a pick-up, drive with the tailgate down (for long distances)–Don’t leave you air conditioning on full blast when you don’t need it.–Use your cruise control.

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