Filling our tanks; draining our wallets

You may have seen some nice cars such as Mustangs, Jeeps and F-150s while driving on the Westside and thought, “That must be a gas guzzler.” Noah Burbrink, a junior here at Elder, drives one of those vehicles. Burbrink drives an orange Dodge Charger which gets about 21 miles per gallon. “Every week and a half, I have to go the gas station to fill up my car about half way,” said Burbrink. “To fill my car up half way, it costs $25 to $30 dollars. But to fill it up the entire tank it would costs more than $50.” Even though Noah admitted that he does not pay for his own gas, that didn’t stop him from having his own opinion on gas prices. “I’ll admit that they are getting lower, but it is still outrageous. We should not have to pay $3 per gallon to fill up our car. We use our cars every day and they are a very important aspect to our everyday lives.” Senior Colt Benjamin has a different opinion. “Gas prices are almost back to being under $3.00 so I’m not too upset; but then again they could always be cheaper.” His Ford Ranger get about 15 miles per gallon. “I have to fill up my truck about once a week for about $50.” They have the right to complain. The United States was the world’s largest petroleum consumer in 2011, guzzling about 18.8 million barrels of petroleum products a day. The U.S was only third in crude oil production at about 5.7 million barrels a day. Crude oil is petroleum as it comes from the ground, before it is refined. The United States imported 11.4 million barrels of crude oil a day and refined petroleum products in 2011. We also exported 2.9 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products a day; making our net imports (imports minus exports) equaled 8.4 million barrels a day. However, things are changing. The United States imported 2.4 million barrels of petroleum products such as gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel, and other products in 2011. The United States exported 2.9 million barrels of petroleum products, making us a net exporter of petroleum products. U.S. dependence on imported oil has declined since peaking in 2005. This movement is the result of different factors including a decline in consumption and shifts in our supply patterns. The notorious economic downturn after the financial crisis of 2008 was the major contributor to our dependence on petroleum intake. At this time in 2011, the average price of gas in Cincinnati was $3.25. Today, November 7th, 2012, the average gas price in the Queen City is $3.36. But we should consider ourselves lucky. At this time last year, the average gas price in Buffalo, New York was $3.60. Today, the average gas price in Buffalo is a staggering $3.90. With the Presidential Election ending; America will be back to normal and gas prices will once again be big news. It will be interesting to see how President Obama deals with the gas price issue in his second term.