By Zach Colona
Tara Holmes, a 20-year old paralegal studies major from Wallingford, commutes to and from school like many other college students.
This time last year Holmes was headed to school when she noticed she needed gas. She pulled her mother’s Nissan Quest into a Wawa in Brookhaven. As she started to pump she watched the price jump once again to $3.28 a gallon.
She asked herself, “Why is gas so expensive?”
She headed to the Learning Commons at DCCC’s Marple campus and did some research. Like Holmes, many people don’t know why gas prices go up and down.
Three major factors influence gas prices: daily supply and demand, Saudi Arabia, and domestic production.
The seasons of fall and winter always begin with a price drop due to decreased travel, therefore demand goes down.
Saudi Arabia produces the most oil in the world, 16 percent to be exact. More than a third of gas America uses is from Saudi Arabia. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi Arabia produces the most oil and also has the world’s 2nd largest proven oil reserves.
But the main reason gas prices have dropped, according to the United States Energy Information Administration, is increased production in the United States.
According to the EIA, America is the world’s largest producer of natural gas. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that between 2007 and 2012 more than 85,000 jobs were created in this industry.
The EIA has also reported a jump in oil production. In 2008, the U.S. was producing around 8,000 barrels a day. Today, production numbers have reached more than 12,000 barrels each day.
This makes the U.S. the second largest oil producing country in the world, second to Saudi Arabia.
Experts say ultimately the boost in production of domestic oil created a domino effect which has made the economy stronger, lowered gas prices, and loosened the financial strain on everyone.
Now the control Saudi Arabia has over American oil is shrinking, experts say.
Although America has given itself more power over the world’s energy supplies, Saudi Arabia still has Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field said to contain 75 billion barrels.
It appears, at least for the time being prices will stay the same. Gas is almost below $2 for the first time in years because America has upped its production in oil and natural gas.
Today students like Holmes have more money to pay for school and other necessities, thanks to lower gas prices.
Holmes said she now saves at least $38 a month which may not seem like much, but an extra $400 dollars a year is a big difference, especially for many students who need to help their families.
“I feel free I don’t have to worry about how much money I have left in my wallet,” Holmes said.