What is going on with the gas prices?

The rising gas prices in layman’s terms for high schoolers.


Maddox Rosenberg

Missouri Average, National Average, and California Average.

High School students may be wondering where their money is going every week. The gas prices have been rising over the years anyway, but the national average is $4.236 as of 3/24/2022. There are places in America where the prices are almost $6 per gallon. Lucky for us in Missouri, our prices are $3.766 per gallon. But, what is really going on? What made the gas prices go up so much? GasPrices.com 

This starts at the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack. According to Wikipedia.org on May 7, 2021, suspected Russian hackers, going by DarkSide, hacked the computerized equipment that manages the pipeline. To get the pipeline back, the company running it paid the ransom of 75 bitcoin to the group of hackers. Bitcoin is an untraceable currency, 75 bitcoin at the time was worth 4.4 million dollars. 

But how did this affect Americans and the gas prices? American Airlines changed flight schedules temporarily, and more seriously, fuel shortages were plaguing the states. People were panic buying gas in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and they were all reporting fuel shortages. 71% of gas stations ran out of fuel in Charlotte and 87% of gas stations in Washington, D.C. This caused the highest price of gas Americans have seen since 2014, reaching more than $3 per gallon. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is another reason for the rapid rising of gas prices. According to WhiteHouse.gov, the United States imported nearly 700,000 barrels a day of crude oil and refined petroleum from Russia in 2021. A barrel is 42 gallons, which means that 29,400,000 gallons of gas products were imported from Russia everyday. According to eia.gov, a barrel of oil cost $78.51. This means we were spending $54,957,000 on oil everyday. 

Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas, second largest coal reserves, and sixth largest oil reserves in the world. The United States does not approve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, so President Biden created a sanction against Russian oil. Thus, banning purchases of Russian oil for the time being. We did this to deprive Russia of billions of dollars from the oil market. 

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, a barrel of oil has reached a thirteen year high of $130 (CNBC.com).  Because the US will not purchase their oil, the pool of oil in the market has shrinked. Less oil going around means the supply is smaller. When supply goes down, the demand for it goes up. According to thehill.com, Russia imports about 3.6 million barrels of crude oil every single day to China. Even though we are not purchasing from Russia for the time being, at $130 per barrel, Russia should be getting around $468 million dollars per day from China.

Finally another reason is OPEC. OPEC is an intergovernmental organization consisting of Algeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Venezuela. These countries are major producers of the world’s oil, but that comes with a great amount of power. Because these countries export their oil, they can control the amount of oil in the market. In layman’s terms, they can create an artificial demand simply by drilling a smaller amount of oil than the year, month, or day before.

All in all, our wallets have been draining for forever, but with these recent events, our wallets are draining more rapidly. Hopefully the invasion will stop and the gas prices will return to normal. Unfortunately, after this attack, nothing will ever be the same.