Gas prices are, as ever, on the rise. Since July, prices over the country have risen over 60 cents.– Click to Tweet.
In just the past month, they’ve gone up 27 cents. And at one point in August, they went up 13 cents in a single week. In some areas, they now average over four dollars a gallon.
These kinds of prices are reminiscent of the prices that occurred during the fuel crisis of several years ago, and although it’s being said that the problem is only temporary, there’s no long-term solution in sight.
A lot of the recent increase in prices has to do with the drop in world crude oil inventories. In the United States, the Department of Energy Petroleum Report stated that the stockpile was down 2.2 million barrels, which contrasted painfully with projections that it would be up 0.7 million barrels.
Across the world, we see the same trend, with fuel reserves being estimated as being down by 1.1 million barrels. Instead reserves were down by an astonishing 6.5 million barrels.
Cause of Supply Problems
Some analysts say it’s just the result of a few bad breaks. There was a fire at a big refinery in California this week. A pipeline also started leaking in the upper Midwest.
It’s possible that other trends are affecting prices as well, such as the peak in demand that sometimes occurs at the end of the summer driving season. The price rise in August might simply have been caused by people taking off in their cars for a last-minute trip.
As demand goes down, which it is already starting to do, prices might stabilize at a lower level. One can’t help but wonder, though, if these problems are part of a larger trend that will continue.
Alternatives to High Fuel Consumption
If they are, what could we do to dodge the many impending disasters of a fuel-starved economy?
It’s uncertain whether alternative fuels, such as solar power, or electric cars, such as the new Chevy Volt, will be picked up very quickly by the consumer market. The best we can do is wait, and hope they do. We can also hope that engineers come up with some surprising, clever answers to our energy needs in the coming decades.
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