Why so High?

Gas prices are up almost 70%; here’s why.


Jay Skyler/ Unsplash.com

Since early March, gas prices have been rising.

Nico Banaszak, Staff Reporter

Students are experiencing sticker shock when they fill up their gas tanks over the past six weeks. 

As of April 12, Virginia’s average prices on regular gasoline are 68% higher than they were a year ago. “Over half my paycheck goes towards filling up my car now,” junior Eavan Driscoll said. 

Consumers blame things from the war in Ukraine to President Biden’s policies, but how are gas prices really determined?

Gasoline prices are determined by multiple factors in the USA. The costs of crude oil, transportation, marketing, and refining each contribute to the eventual cost, according to eia.gov. Additionally, federal, state and local governments can add taxes to the base price of gas, but what other things can have an effect on these prices and the markets?

“It’s actually really interesting what’s going on in the markets right now, oil prices spiked to almost $130 a barrel [March 6-12] and has come down under $100 [ during March 13-19],” economics teacher Ian Lyons said. “The market is really uncertain of what’s going to happen based on the unpredictability of the conflict in Ukraine.” 

“About 50% of the price of  gas is related to the price of crude oil. Crude oil gas is traded like a stock and is based on supply and demand,” Lyons said. “Most of the price increase is about speculation or uncertainty in future supply of oil. It’s not as though the price to produce oil has increased.”

So, why are some people pointing fingers at a multitude of other things as the culprits?

Many Americans, “think that the U.S. has extra supply that could bring the price down quickly, but that is untrue,” Lyons said. “Oil is also traded on the world market, so it’s not as though the action of just one country can change the entire market overnight.” 

American policies have only a minor effect on gas prices. “It’s a world-wide problem, not just in the USA,” senior Owen Jones said. “People need to stop blaming it on Joe [Biden].” 

Lyons agreed, stating “We [Americans] are captive to world events just as much as any other country. It will be interesting to see how the next few months develop, not just oil prices, but inflation as well.”