By Leah Mize
If you’re one of The University of Tampa’s commuter students or a resident with a car, you’ve likely noticed an uptick in gas prices. In only a few short months, gas prices have risen from below $2.00 per gallon to almost $3 per gallon. According to a Politifact article, gas prices have been slowly on the rise since May 2020.
The go-to conclusion is to blame President Biden for the increased cost at the pumps, but this is not accurate. There are a few things to blame for the rise in gas prices but a new presidency is not one of them. It’s not a new perception to associate a change in federal leadership with an increase in gas prices. This common but misleading belief seriously harmed former President Jimmy Carter’s term in office and partially led to his failure to secure a second term.
According to information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the reasons behind fluctuating gas prices is simple supply and demand. Gas prices and crude oil have always been connected to each other. Simply put, if there’s an issue with crude oil, such as fewer available refineries and delayed deliveries, it will impact the prices of gas especially if demand for gas is higher.
There are historical seasonal trends to follow for some clarity. Gas prices generally rise in the spring and early summer because more people are on the roads to enjoy the warmer weather. The universal increased demand for gas naturally drives up the cost of the supply.
Since the start of the pandemic, which started around this time last year for most Americans, most people have been stuck in their homes or staying closer to home. This widespread lack of travel drives down the demand for gas, which leaves a larger amount left in supply. Now that most people are more mobile than they were last year, demand is rising and with that rise in demand comes an increase in the supply cost.
Even if the current president could control the gas prices, they couldn’t because the larger structure of the oil and gas industry is too big. It would be impossible for the president to control an industry that big effectively in the way they get accused of.
“I don’t blame Biden for the gas prices at all,” said Katrina Weiss, a marine biology major and sophomore at UT. “We’re all looking into getting vaccinated now and getting back to normal so we feel safer traveling to more places and that usually means taking your car.”
There are some solutions to save some money at the gas pump. Most gas companies such as Wawa and Circ-le K have rewards programs that can cushion the costs by giving back in some form. While this might not be the way we want to recoup costs or save money, it’s good to get into the habit of looking for a return on an investment, regardless of who you are. Building rewards for regular expenses can benefit your future self and if there’s one thing college is about it’s creating a better future for yourself to improve your lifestyle.