Oil Prices Increase

the-pennpen/" class="creditline">ELIZABETH GAFFRON
Penn Contributing Writer
The PennPen

Once upon a time, gasoline cost less than a dollar. These days, even the thought of a gallon costing less than $2 sounds like a fairy tale. Prices are rising all over the country, and Indiana is no exception.

Lots of IUP students have noticed the seemingly constant increase in price.

"It makes me so angry," said Jess Emert (freshman, hospitality management). "I haven't driven anywhere in a while. I usually walk or take the bus."

Other students have a more optimistic attitude about the increases.

"These gas prices are kinda making me mad, but if you think about it, people over in Europe have been paying these kinds of prices and even more," said Meagan Griffith (junior, criminology). "So we should be lucky we've lasted as long as we have with low prices."

Almost all gas stations in Indiana were up to $2.13 Tuesday. That is only slightly less than the national average price of $2.15. According to the Department of Energy, that number is 39.5 cents higher than last year at this time.

"I probably spend about $180 a month [on gas], I guess, and I only come to school two days a week," said Jess Kutz (sophomore, food and nutrition), who commutes from home.

One effect of the higher prices is the increase in gas station drive-offs. Courtney Jack (freshman, elementary education), who works at a gas station in Kittanning, says that as costs rise, so do the number of thefts.

"We get a lot of drive-offs. They get $5 worth of gas, then drive off down the road and get $5 more."

"The main reason [for drive-offs] is that they won't get prosecuted for five dollars." One man, Jack said, repeatedly stole $5 worth of gas before being caught.

Under Pennsylvania law, a perpetrator's license can be suspended after the third conviction. Because of the rise of this type of crime, many gas stations are beginning to sell gas on a pre-pay basis.

According to howstuff works.com, a Web site that explains how things work to those who access it, almost half of each dollar of gas purchased goes to crude oil suppliers. About 31 percent of the cost is from taxes. The rest is from the refining process, distribution, marketing and the station's markup.

Gas stations themselves get only a few cents from each purchase, which makes drive-offs especially devastating. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, a few drive-offs a day can really hurt a station's business, but the crime costs their industry about $112 million a year.

Due to the inevitable summer rise in demand, prices may not be dropping anytime soon.