By Andrea Brandstetter |Staff Writer|
As I drove to school the other day, I was struck by the lyrics of a well-known Beach Boys’ song:
“Come on let’s cruise, ya got nothin’ to lose.”
All I could do was shake my head and laugh.
California’s drivers, especially students, have a hell of a lot to lose these days. Most notably: money.
The price of gas has risen exponentially over the past couple of months, largely due to the unrest in the Middle East, where the U.S. imports some of its oil.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the price of crude oil has now reached $100 a barrel for the first time since 2008, when gas prices reached an all-time high.
According to several AAA officials, the high gas prices are a result of “investor demands” as opposed to factors related to supply and demand.
“Investors have been willing to speculate that prices will increase further and that they will be able to make a profit on the produce they are purchasing today,” said AAA spokesman Matt Skryja.
If recent trends are any indication, our pain at the pump is likely to continue.
According to ABC News, the national average for gas is now $3.52 per gallon, an increase of 12 cents from last week and 77 cents from a year ago.
Naturally, Californians pay more for everything, including filling up at the pump.
A recent report by the AAA found that Californians now pay approximately $3.91 per gallon of gas, an increase of 50 cents from early last month.
KPSP Local 2 News reported that the average price of gas in the Inland Empire is $3.90.
What makes these gas prices worse for Californians are the included state and federal taxes, which amount to 66 cents per gallon.
Taxes are always unwelcome, but they may do some good if the revenue is used to reduce the state’s $25.4 billion deficit.
Here’s to hoping.
Nevertheless, as gas prices soar and pocketbooks shrink, many are voicing their concerns, including CSUSB students.
“It’s really difficult because we [students] are trying to pay for our tuition, books, and parking permits. Having to pay [more] for gas is just ridiculous,” said Alissa Ochoa.
For Ochoa, who drives a Ford Excursion, filling up her tank ¾ of the way costs her roughly $65.
Laurena Tamayo is in the same boat, she drives a Chevy Silverado and pays $45 for a half a tank’s worth of gas.
“I’m scared for the summer,” Tamayo admitted.
Toebey Caldwell, who drives a Chevy Malibu, is frustrated by the entire situation.
“Stuff goes up and we have to pay for it. We don’t get to boycott,” Caldwell said.
Even students who don’t drive are scared about the high price of gas.
“I think the prices are ridiculous. They make me not want to get a car,” said Dorothy Sempasa.
For reasons which include the high cost of gas, I believe the U.S. should engage in more oil drilling at home.
Instead of spending billions of dollars importing oil from other countries, why not use the resources we already have?
Although there are plenty of safety concerns regarding oil drilling, particularly after the BP oil disaster, I believe our government can enforce stronger safety regulations that will help reduce the likelihood of another similar event.
Of course, alternative energy is the wave of the future in terms of this issue, and I gladly support American investment in it.
However, the results of this investment will take time, and time is our enemy at the moment.
At the very least, oil drilling at home could provide a temporary solution to a long-standing problem.