Gas prices in Castro Valley have gone from being around $4.50 to being up to $6 per gallon. This sudden and drastic increase happened right after Russia invaded Ukraine, so many believe that the war led to the new gas prices.
The national gas price average reached $4.43 per gallon recently, compared to only a month ago, when the national average was $3.49.
“We’re one of the biggest oil producers in the world, and we do get oil from Russia, but we’re on contracts with them so we already had a preset price set up of how much we were buying this oil from. So, why are the gas prices so high?” said economics teacher David Roth-Rossi.
Recently, the price of crude oil has returned to around $94 a barrel, compared to the $130 a barrel that it was right after Russia invaded Ukraine.
The US only imports around 10% of its oil from Russia, while the rest comes from other countries and from the U.S. President Biden issued a ban on importing Russia’s oil and gasoline on March 8, so that the US could try to slow down its primary source of revenue.
“I like that we’re not supporting Russia, and it’s worth it to me to pay extra for gas. It’s just a little annoying because I work pretty far so I use a lot of gas,” said senior Brooke Eickmann.
Spikes in the gas prices are especially taking a toll on people who have to commute to work. Many people don’t have other options of getting to their jobs, so driving to work is an unavoidable cost for them. With prices of almost $6 a gallon, driving to work can become expensive extremely quickly.
California has recently introduced a new bill that would require oil refineries to disclose the amount they pay for crude oil, and also disclose their profits. This would show exactly how much gas prices have risen, and also show if this recent increase in gas prices were due to speculation.
“I think the situation is a good example of how speculation really manipulates the markets. If you think about how prices of oil when the war broke out went up all the way to almost $130, and hit a record for the last 15 years, and recently it’s back down like 20-30%, and dropped back down to $94,” said Roth-Rossi.