Michaelson: So, about those gas prices…

Who should we blame for high gas prices?


by Gavin Michaelson

As Americans prepare for their summer vacations, drives to work and other everyday activities, we all have one more factor to keep in mind: the rising gas prices.

Gas prices are at a record high, topping the record set during the 2008 economic crisis. However, in the classic blame game, everyone seems to be misplacing their blame.

Like every other issue in today’s world, the rise in gas prices has become a politicized issue. The blame has been repeatedly misplaced, and it has quickly become a Republican talking point to turn voters against Democrats in the upcoming election cycle this fall.

Despite bipartisan support to place sanctions on Russia, which has restricted imports and exports, people, particularly the Republican Party, are attempting to place the blame on President Biden. However, Biden has no real control over the price of gas. The real figures to blame are Russian President Vladimir Putin, our oil production companies and even the American public.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been a major contributor to the rising gas prices within the United States. Despite only 8% of U.S. oil coming from Russian imports, the war has played a major role in the gas prices across the country. Russia is a major producer of crude oil, which the U.S. can only produce more using drilling tactics. The sanctions against Russia which, again, had bipartisan support, are a necessary means to deter the Russian invasion of Ukraine and save lives — something far more important than money.

Notably, the U.S. production of oil has not yet recovered from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic began, production halted because of the complete lack of demand as everyone stayed home and still has not returned to its previous state years later. While not completely controllable by U.S. oil production companies, the high prices are attached to the lack of production, along with the unpredictable supply and demand shifts that have persisted.

Consumers are also to blame for the high gas prices.

Americans have become increasingly reliant on gas and oil over the years. Our strict reliance on these resources has left us completely dependent and unprepared for the shifting supply of gas prices.

Rather than seeking out other alternatives, like electronic replacements, we continue to rely on the gas and oil industries. Not only is it harmful to the environment, but it has essentially brought Americans to their knees as the effects of the pandemic and war become more apparent.

However, the reason that the gas and oil industry has the power to increase their prices as drastically as we have seen, is because, as consumers, we are still extremely reliant on them. Our dependence has made consumers victim to record-high gas prices.

Approximately 90% of U.S. households spend money on gasoline, accounting for an average of nearly $3,000 per year. However, electric vehicles on average only cost $25 a month to maintain.

If anything, the time to consider switching to electric replacements has never been better. As Americans struggle with increasingly high gas prices, electric supplements continue to look exponentially more efficient and viable.