October 22, 2014

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Fuel for thought

March 24, 2011

By Kayla Purvis

Since the Libyan crisis started last month, Americans have seen quite a jump in gas prices. They seemed to go up a few cents every week. There was one particular gas station I went to that had gas for $3.39 a gallon, so I quickly stopped there to fill my tank. The next day or so I drove by and they were up to $3.59. Some gas stations in Williston offer five cents off on Sundays, so that is when I have filled my tank.

I noticed that the prices stopped climbing approximately 10 days ago. I think we can safely say that that is mostly due to Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, followed by the further destruction caused by aftershocks.

Japan, according to the CIA World Factbook, is the third-largest importer of oil in the world, coming in at 5,033,000 barrels per day. The United States imports 11,310,000 barrels per day.

I doubt that Japan is importing five million barrels of oil per day right now. That is bound to affect our gas prices. If you think about it, the demand has gone down quite a bit. Supply has also gone down, given the situation in Libya. So, since our supply (or rather access) and demand have gone down, the relative standstill in our gas prices makes sense.
It was predicted that prices could get as high as $5 a barrel by Memorial Day. I think they are pretty settled around $3.70 in Chittenden county, or at least Williston. I was in Winooski the other day and saw gas for $3.39. I couldn’t believe it!

With Muammar Qaddafi gaining more ground over the rebels, I am curious how the situation in Libya will end. I am really sorry for the Libyan people because they deserve a new leader if that is what they want.

The rising conflict over the Abyei region in Sudan may also affect our prices at the pump, as the very oil-rich region is being argued over by North and South Sudan. Both sides claim ownership of Abyei, and the region is dealing with large amounts of conflict and violence. If it becomes compromised or a standstill, we will see prices go up again. It may be by a little or it may be by a lot – it depends on how much of our oil comes from Sudan.

It is interesting to see how events halfway across the globe from each other interconnect and affect one another.

Williston resident Kayla Purvis is a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School.

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