The Harbinger Online

Gas Slash

And OPEC said, let the pumps flow with golden gas.

Since October, the downward slope of gas prices in the United States has left Americans in a confused happiness, unsure of who to thank for the money-saving, economy-stimulating rarity.=

But who do we thank for the for these plummeting prices? A Saudi Santa? Friendly Frackers? New York Times writer Clifford Krauss says the Organization of Exporting Petroleum Countries (OPEC) is behind the drop.

In an attempt to stay on top of the oil market, OPEC has increased the production of oil, even though the price has dropped in the consumer countries. In an interview with International Business Times, natural resource analyst Chad Mabry predicts that the prices will continue to decrease, and not begin to rise for a half year.

Yet, OPEC’s motives are under speculation. Continental Resources founder Harold Hamm, who has fought legal battles against OPEC, guesses that the oil organization is bluffing. In an interview with Forbes, Hamm predicts that the oil barrel prices will spike, and that the company’s intentions are to drown out smaller oil companies. For now, the low cost of oil barrels affects this community especially.

Though Kansas Citians may walk away from the pump not questioning the money they just saved, they may not realize they are walking away with more than anybody else in the country. As of January 21, named Kansas City, Missouri as having the lowest gas prices in country. That, combined with the fact that Kansas is the state with the third-lowest gas prices, provides the East community with a unique, money-saving benefit.

“It’s made a huge lifestyle change for us,” Marketing teacher Mercedes Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen drives 196 blocks to school. Her husband, an assistant principal at Shawnee Mission South, drives separately. Together, they used to spend around $1,000 a month on gas. Rasmussen’s car cost her $60 to fill up, and now costs her around $30, making it less of a burden to drive to work and her sons to their practices. With close to $500 back in her family’s pockets, Rasmussen used the money to buy her sons new sports equipment, do “fun stuff” with her kids on the weekend and pay off bills.

Senior Chloe Costello, who drives a gas-guzzling Toyota Land Cruiser, used to pay $50 to $70 to fill up her tank every other week. Because she saves an average of $10 each tank, she gets to stock up on her gas card.

On the other end of the spectrum, senior Noah Marsh has to pay close to nothing on his fuel efficient car. Before the gas drop, Marsh’s Hyundai Veloster cost $35 to $45 to fill up a tank. Now, he enjoys paying no more than a $20 bill.

“It’s incredible. I definitely go out to lunch more often,” Marsh said. “Since I’m not spending my money on gas, I can spend it on other things I want.”

While some analysts predict that OPEC’s continuous production may not last a month, others say it will stay for the next half of 2015. Either way, the East’s entire driving community can benefit from the money they’ve saved on gas.

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Tommy Sherk

Junior Tommy Sherk is the print assistant editor for the Harbinger. Read Full »

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