Pape: Pain at the Pump as Russia Attacks Continue


Sophie Pape

At Mobil in Woodbury, the gas prices are rising, forcing student drivers to pay upwards of $90 to fill a tank during a March 23 fill-up.

Sophie Pape, Reporter

WOODBURY — The United States of America relies partially on Russia for our gas and oil, partially due to President Joe Biden stopping several pipelines, not only taking jobs away from U.S. citizens, but taking away our independence with oil and gas. This is why gas prices are skyrocketing by the day. 

Russia accounts for eight percent of the United States’ oil imports. According to ABC News, last year the U.S. consumed 245 million barrels of oil from Russia, trailing imports from Canada (51%) and Mexico (8%). With Russia at war with Ukraine, this is becoming a dire problem for the U.S. economy. 

America is the world’s No. 1 oil producer (14,837,639,510 barrels produced per day) and the top consumer. This is because we have more natural resources than most countries, but we are still not energy independent, so some oil still needs to be imported into the US. 

We have never been fully oil independent, but we were more so before last year. March 7 marked the highest gas prices have been in the last decade. Many drivers, especially young student drivers, have strong opinions on the matter. 

“I pay for my own gas, so I have to work more and I try to drive as little as possible,” Eli Brochu, junior at Nonnewaug, stated.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to people. People have been predicting gas and oil prices to go up for years, especially since the 2020 election. That was one of the things Americans were concerned about. 

Without our oil independence, I don’t think people truly understand the consequences that can occur. Going forward, there are subtle signs that prices will go down, and they are predicted to relent. Young drivers are still hardest hit by the spike in oil. 

For most high school students, a minimum wage of $13 an hour means a majority of paychecks are going toward filling up their tanks as opposed to spending on entertainment, food, and college savings. 

It may be argued that this is a blessing in disguise because it’s forcing young drivers to carpool more and use less gas, which is better for the environment, but America has among the world’s best air quality levels. There are many different solutions to make our environment better aside from keeping drivers off the road. 

“I don’t spend my money on anything anymore and I have to work more,” said Fiona Gengenbach, junior at Nonnewaug, noting the increase in prices has dramatically curbed her spending habits. 

“How much I make a week is now less than how much I need to pay for gas every week,” Lauren Pabst, junior at Nonnewaug, stated. 

To be a student driver right now has never been more expensive and stressful, especially for kids that have to pay for their own gas and have other financial responsibilities. Despite this year’s energy peaks, according to the Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), prices are projected to return to 2021 levels, a trendline that should fill up student tanks without emptying their wallets.