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Rising gas prices concern more than commuting students

By Channing Parfait
On March 7, 2012

  • Scott Pellegrin, education junior from Bourg, fills up his truck with gas on Monday afternoon at the Colonel Truck Stop.

With spring break and summer vacation approaching, consumers will begin to notice an impact on their wallets as gas prices continue to rise.

Nicholls is considered a commuter school, and most students are concerned about the increasing gas prices occuring so early in the year since they tend to stay low until the summer months.

According to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service, gas prices have risen 32 cents or 9.3 percent since Feb. 1. At the beginning of this week, the national average for gas was $3.80 per gallon.

John Griffin, associate professor of petroleum services, said that as long as oil companies can prove rumors for rising gas prices, they can increase the price.

"Oil companies are able to set the prices because they control the flow," Griffin said.

Gas prices can rise for several reasons, but analysts believe this recent increase stems from tensions with Iran.

The International Atomic Energy Agency released evidence in November that Iran is developing a nuclear device. Iran denies any construction of a nuclear weapon and defends their nuclear program with reason to generate electricity that would not dip into their oil supply.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is the third largest oil exporter in the world, and they have threatened to cut off one of the main lines for oil, the Strait of Hormuz, if Israel follows their plans to attack. Israel's motive for their attack is to stall further development of Iran's supposed nuclear program.

Mike Fitzpatrick, editor-in-chief of Kilduff Reprot's Energy Overview, said that if Israel does attack, Americans could expect gas to reach $5 a gallon at the pump.

"One-hundred and fifty dollar oil is the first marker we'll hit," Fitzpatrick said.

Recent gas prices are competing with last year's highest price of $3.98, which was recorded on May 4 by the Oil Price Information Service.

Jim Ritterbusch, an independent oil trader, said he is concerned consumers will not be able to pay the higher prices.

"We're at the point where people are getting concerned about further economic recovery, not just in the United States but much of the globe," Ritterbusch said.

Nancy Taylor, biology pre-med junior from Mobile, Ala., said high gas prices have affected her travel this semester.

"I have been trying to go home and always talk myself out of it because of the high gas prices," Taylor said. "I feel like I need to save up money just to be able to go home and visit my family and friends."

The top three places for regular unleaded gas in Thibodaux are Murphy USA (located in front of Wal-Mart) for $3.51 per gallon, the Colonel Truck Stop near Nicholls for $3.59 per gallon, and the Circle K for $3.54 per gallon.

The Daily Green has several suggestions to help improve fuel efficiency:

1. Drivers should make sure their tires are properly inflated and aligned to avoid making their engines work harder.

2. Drivers should check their air filters and have their engines maintained on a regular basis to improve mileage on their vehicles.

3. While on the road, drivers should slow down and lay off the breaks to reduce the amount of gas their vehicles use.

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