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Drilling efforts would quell rising gas prices

Guest Columnist

Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 15:08

An article released by the Associated Press last week reported that drivers have been paying record prices for gasoline. The national average for Aug. 20 was $3.72 per gallon, up from $3.58 a gallon in 2011. Judging by these numbers, we can observe that the cost of gas has risen dramatically, leaving many of us UCF students posing the question, “When, if ever, will prices begin to go down and stay down?” Before we can discuss how we lower costs, let’s look at what determines them.

A myriad of factors come into play influencing day-to-day fluctuations in gas prices, such as speculation, daily refinery output, geopolitical events, etc. However, the greatest factor that affects cost is supply and demand. If demand is greater than the amount of fuel being supplied, then naturally prices will increase. If supply is greater than demand, prices will decrease. At this time, demand is greater than the supply. The U.S. is only one of many industrialized nations, much like China and India, that consumes large amounts of gasoline every day. We are competing in a globalized economy. In order to drive costs down we need to increase the supply.

While the U.S. is a major exporter of crude and refined oil, we are trying to help feed the voracious appetite of growing nations all over the globe. That being understood, we need to increase domestic drilling in areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the untouched oil sands in Utah and Alaska, develop new and more efficient ways of harvesting existing oil and gas reserves and continue the ongoing search for more untapped sources at home and abroad. An increase in production will help to meet existing demand. In addition, pursuing the above measures at home will produce an additional much-needed consequence: jobs!

With unemployment still hovering above 8 percent and underemployment above 17 percent, the American public needs a way to make a buck. An increase in oil production will dramatically help to reduce the number of Americans out of work. To see an example of this, we can look to North Dakota.

In 2008, an ongoing period of extraction from the Bakken oil shale formation began. Since then we have seen an economic explosion in North Dakota, giving it the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. The increased production has brought a huge influx of people searching for jobs. In fact, the Associated Press said the population of the city of Williston has doubled to 30,000 residents in less than a decade. The average salary of a resident of Williston has increased from $32,000 in 2006 to more than $70,000, and the unemployment rate is at 1 percent while, astonishingly, there are still 3,000 unfilled jobs in the city. The prosperity has been so widespread that a measure was placed on the ballot this past June that would have eliminated property taxes across the state. 

Now, the mainstream media has been trying to point to the stresses the migration of workers has created such as: rent inflation, overcrowding, strains on infrastructure and the like. In response, I would like to say that this is just a round of problems that will attract entrepreneurs who will build more housing, more restaurants and more roads to meet the greater demand, therefore creating even more jobs. To most Americans just struggling to make ends meet, these sound like good problems to have.

Now, imagine economic transformation just like that on a national scale. We could literally turn our economy around overnight achieving an unheard of level of prosperity for most Americans young and old alike. That, my friends, is real change we can believe in. The only question I have now is, why has our current president worked to stand in the way of so many opportunities like this? Why has he worked to limit our prosperity by encouraging more regulation, pushing for drilling restrictions and denying permits to build pipelines, i.e. the Keystone XL? Let’s tell him how we feel, UCF. We need real leadership for America. Vote for prosperity on Nov. 6. Vote Republican. 

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