Rising gas prices threaten the great American road trip
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 20:04
It’s a bright Friday morning and the men from Kappa Alpha Order are cruising up Interstate 75 for their annual Old South retreat. Their destination: Athens, Ga.
“Everyone in the fraternity went and we all took dates,” said Justin Kline, a junior majoring in journalism.
New experiences are central to the college experience and when Kline and his friends arrived in Athens, they were stunned by the history and architecture.
“There were all these historic buildings,” Kline said. “I was in awe of the tradition and respect. Everyone was patient and so chill.”
College road trips, whether you’re in a fraternity or with buddies driving to that next big concert, are becoming endangered. With the escalating price of gas, students are reconsidering the pros of spending time with friends all across America.
Ryan Garrison, a junior majoring in legal studies, claims he is apprehensive regarding the future. With ambitions of entering a Top 10 law school, Garrison worries he will be unable to afford tuition in addition to the cost of living. His plan is to quit his job at the Law Office of Geralyn F. Noonam his senior year and pursue a job as a waiter until law school. “I’m going to save up as much money as possible while it’s in season,” Garrison said.
Fossil fuels, which consist of coal, oil and natural gas, are defined as concentrated organic compounds found in the earth’s crust. Fossil fuels are an infusion of plant and animal remains that have decomposed over the course of millions of years.
On their government website, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that between 2006 to 2030 the global consumption of oil will rise at least 25 percent. Additionally, fossil fuels will maintain their title as America’s primary source of energy from now until 2030.
These forecasts are especially troubling because they imply the price of oil will rise. Oil, as any other commodity, works by the concept of supply and demand. If there is enough demand, the product will increase in price, which as my pockets are well aware, oil has been steadily doing so.
However, despite high prices, the U.S. has implemented measures to reduce their dependence on foreign oil. For example, in 2010, for the first time in 13 years, America imported less than half of the oil consumed. In 2011, the trend repeated. Which asks the question: Why are prices steadily climbing?
“There is increased demand from China, Brazil and India due to their increasing populations,” said Dr. Brad Hobbs, an economic professor at FGCU and a BB&T distinguished professor of free enterprise.
“Wealth is generated by productive activities. Those countries are producing more. There are nearly a billion people in China and many millions are coming out of poverty. As those countries have higher level of income, its citizens aspire to acquire convenient luxuries. For example, Chinese parents want cars for their kids and for themselves. This will contribute to the demand and raise prices,” Hobbs said.
However, the most troubling part to swallow regarding this information is that I will be in my mid-40s before oil prices in America may decline. I feel robbed of the American dream, which is to explore the vast frontiers. I’d like to go on an extended road trip with friends, like the movie “Grind” or “Eurotrip,” without worrying about a depleted bank account.
As to the future of Kappa Alpha trips, Kline assured me the trips will continue despite the rising price of gasoline.
“Road trips make everything better. You have so much more time to get closer and bond with friends.” Kline said. “Worst case, we’ll travel someplace else—maybe stay around Florida,” he said.