Skyrocketing gas prices, food shortages strike America

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Gas and food shortages across America have affected many. Prices are skyrocketing, and some Americans struggle to find gas stations that won’t break the bank.

Janey Parks, Staff Writer

In recent months, it has become very apparent that there was a significant jump in gas prices. Gas prices and food scarcity are hitting record highs almost daily. Seeing that your tank needs filled causes financial pain for millions across America. Alongside gas price issues, the fertilizer shortage has added to growing concerns about the Ukraine war’s impact on the prices and scarcity of certain basic foods and needs. 

Many people in America are wondering why gas prices are skyrocketing and what is happening with food shortages. A response sometimes brought up during discussions about these topics is that it is President Joe Biden’s fault. Some have pointed to the Biden administration’s policies on the Keystone XL pipeline and certain oil and gas leases, which have had little impact on prices. Republican lawmakers took the floors of Congress with claims that pinned the blame on Biden and his energy policies. Biden warned that his ban on imports of Russian oil, gas and coal would cause gas prices to rise further. High costs are expected to last as long as the confrontation does. While Republican lawmakers supported the ban, they asserted that the pain at the pump long preceded the war in Ukraine. 

A primary reason for rising gas prices over the past year is the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptions to global supply and demand. In the early months of 2020, when the virus struck the world, demand for oil dried up and prices plummeted. In response, producers of oil in the United States and around the world began decreasing output. Now that the world is nearly up and running again, a post-pandemic demand for gas causes an influx in prices. 

United States sanctions on Russia are also impacting the global market. But, the U.S. imports less than 10% of its oil and gas from Russia, so why are prices rising so much if the nation doesn’t depend on Russia for fuel? The United States is the world’s largest oil producer, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia, but it is also the biggest oil consumer, and it can’t meet that staggering demand with domestic crude alone. The surge in gas prices is due to the larger global oil market.

“Unfortunately oil prices may continue to advance as long as we are at this imbalance of supply and demand and it looks like that could persist,” petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan said.

As previously mentioned, issues are popping up resulting in a shortage of fertilizers.    Russia exported 11% of the world’s urea and 48% of the ammonium nitrate. Russia and Ukraine together export 28% of fertilizers made from nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as potassium. Disruptions of those shipments due to sanctions and war have sent fertilizer prices skyrocketing and grain prices are rising even more. 

“It is a huge problem,” CF Industries CEO Tony Will said. 

He said global fertilizer supplies are very tight. CF manufactures and distributes fertilizers. The war in Ukraine has left the world short of important grains and fertilizers, which could tighten food supplies.

The number of problems and shortages America has right now seems nearly endless, but there are a few ways to conserve what you have now. Even though the situation is not yet dire enough to stock up on everything and anything people can get their hands on, it is still smart to think of ways you can take advantage of what is already at your disposal. Take an inventory of your current resources. People should definitely do this with their water and canned foods. Also, make note of meals you can prepare with what you have. Plan meals you can have with items that are stocked up in your pantry. Notable ideas are to develop a food storage plan to grow both short and long-term food storage, start a garden, even if it’s small or only indoors and learn to preserve foods.

Even though prices are rising and resources are becoming more and more scarce, it is important to keep an open mind to possible explanations and a better tomorrow.