Increasing Gas Prices Appear To Be in Full Throttle

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The first thing that I see right after I wake up in the morning is the price of gasoline, and ever since the school year started, the prices ricochet up and down to extremes. I even remember waking up one morning and seeing the price the Shell station on Grand having dipped slightly under $3 a gallon.

With national averages on the rise and just hovering below $3.70, there seems to be a general consensus that the price increases will not stop, leaving any hope for prices under $2 in the realm of nostalgia. In fact, in 1996, the national average for a gallon of gas sat at $1.28. Modernize that price to the year 2010 with the use of inflation, and you have $1.70.

But if inflation accounts for only $0.45 cents per gallon, then why are drivers paying an extra $2 per gallon? The demand for gas increased dramatically, but not from whom you might think.
It is easy to look around and say that the most developed countries, such as Western Europe, Japan and the Unites States, are the clear gas guzzlers of the world. In fact, American demand on gasoline surprisingly went down 6.4 percent in the last year according to a MasterCard report.  Countries like India, Brazil and China, whose economies are rapidly developing, not only made up for the American demand, but they surpassed the figure.
Don’t forget about the instability of the Middle East either. It only takes one minor political hiccup, and we all know what happens after that.
Naturally, some parts of the country will feel the pain at the pump a little more than others, with California leading the pack. Fortunately, Missourians live in the eighth cheapest state for gasoline according to gasbuddy.com. Conversely, Illinoisans have the privilege of buying gas in the eighth most expensive state for petroleum. With spring break approaching, students should be aware of the sky-rocketing prices.
Does that mean we should rally together and find the nearest auto dealer and sell our automobiles? Of course not. Not only is that not realistic, it is also impractical.  However, we should drive only when necessary. But in those necessary cases, for instance, driving home for the break, drivers should accelerate no faster than 60 miles an hour. For every five miles over sixty, drivers pay an additional $0.24 to every gallon of gas. Also check the tires. Tires that are low on air can make a traveler lose two miles per gallon.
Or, you can scratch driving all together and arrive to your destination by using public transportation. Many students, as well as the rest of the nation, do take advantage of the bus services and even Amtrak, as these means gain more popularity as gas prices climb higher. The White House has also taken notice, and they had their eye especially on Amtrak. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood pushed for the construction of a high-speed rail system to be built in America, and he plans to use the local Amtrak station as one of his first major sites. Come 2014, and SLU students will be able to travel from St. Louis to Chicago and back even faster than before.
As a side note, although these speed rails like the ones in France and China accelerate over 200 miles an hour easily, these local trains will still gain up an easy 110 miles an hour easily while still keeping safety in mind to travelers and surrounding communities. Added benefits to the high-speed rail system include easing road congestion, lower unemployment (an added 6,000 jobs to be exact) and even hopes of lowering gas prices.
Another alternative to increasing fuel costs is purchasing the infamous smart car, but, some people are skeptical if the revolutionized automobile is even worth it. According to Tony Daily, general manager of the Towne Automotive Group of Buffalo, N.Y., “When you get to $4.50 a gallon, the math [on a hybrid car] works. At $3 a gallon, it doesn’t.” Peaking prices may be a possibility. Analysts from the American Automobile Association predict that prices at the pump may decrease up to $0.75 cents as soon as this fall, leaving reason for Americans to continue to buy their large Hummers and SUVs.
As much as I do not want to admit it, I believe that our generation will repeat the same depressing phrase that our parents and grandparents told us many times, “I remember when gas prices were…,”  as if it were a mantra that were embedded in our DNA. Until someone can develop a source of energy that can be produced and distributed cheaply, the American public, and perhaps even the world, will be held hostage with the fuel pump as the perpetrator.