The True price of Gas is $7.02…and More

January 11, 2013
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Some Americans consider it outrageous that the average price of gas is $3.63 per gallon. What they do not know, however, is that when you add the military costs, such as nation building and terrorism, to our oil dependence, the total price spikes to approximately $7.02—almost twice the amount they’re paying at the pump—according to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. This number doesn’t even include the costs of human rights violations or the deferred cost of global warming. If Americans were to drive to a pump and see these hidden fees, they would demand a change—not to protect lives, but to save money.

A great deal of gas and oil, unfortunately, comes from perhaps the most precarious regions in the world. The transfer of wealth has aggregated to a sum of $1.16 trillion to these countries over the last thirty years. When invading Iraq, the US paid a sum of $200 billion, arguably to sustain our oil dependency, according to the Global Security’s website. The principal reason for sending American lives into harm’s way to the Middle East, regrettably, may have only been to fill our gas tanks. The current gas price certainly doesn’t account for the costs of terrorism, which has not only damaged infrastructure but also murdered the potential of all souls affected. Al-Qaeda issued Fatwas in 1996 and 1998 expressing extremist dislike of the US presence in Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s two holiest sights, and that all attacks directed against the US, including the future 9/11 attack, would be to drive these infidel armies out of the oil-frothing Persian Gulf. How much is a driver paying for the potential of each life lost in a terrorist attack at the pump?

Human Rights violations have dramatically shifted our world. Unfortunately, not only are we causing them by pumping oil, but also we are not even paying for them. This is clearly exemplified by the Unocal’s project in Burma. Prior to building two pipelines there, the company hired the military to conduct the security of the project, knowing that they had conducted human rights abuses beforehand. Surprisingly, villages were forcefully relocated, and some residents were forced to work. Eventually though, our governments and we are not only going to pay for the aid of these victims, but for all who suffer in the world. The long-term effects will be tremendous.

Though global warming has significantly impacted our environment and wildlife, many Americans are unaware that it actually has a price. Dr. William Nordhaus of Yale concluded that three degrees Celsius of global warming would lead to a cost of 22 trillion dollars. Scientists expect that if by 2050 we have not significantly changed our pollution standards, human kind itself will be affected in unimaginable ways. Yet the Toyota Corolla dominates the market as the world’s most popular car. Why not hybrids!

The well known 1972 Stanford marshmallow experiment tested delayed gratification. During the testing, psychologists offered a marshmallow to children. They only told to them that if they waited, and thereby chose wisely, they would receive two marshmallows as opposed to the original one. We today are being offered a marshmallow: an average $3.62 gas price. It is a great deal for the short term, but over time, we will see vast economic deficits because of it. If we continue to consume it, Americans will be summoned into combat, children will die, and their human abusers will prosper. This has a price, and it’s not just a moral one. We are going to have to fund projects that prevent this from happening, and pay for the medical needs of not only these people, but also our sons who have fought bravely in the army.
So it’s bad. We will face huge economic turmoil in our future. So instead of passing the bill to our kids, all should fund new reliable forms of energy that would minimize our long term costs. Though it is not cheap, The United States of America should switch over to green energy. According to “The Real ‘Green’ Innovation” by Daniel Gross, green energy investments are plummeting. These green products such as solar power have now taken the initiative, and these owners are now offering them for lease. The Government has done everything they can to encourage us to fight for this. This is easily exemplified by the local government of Berkley, California passed a program in which people could purchase solar plants for prices hovering around $20,000, receive tax credits, and through “property-tax payments made over twenty years”, pay it off with no liability to themselves. This should be a nationwide agenda, as not only is this beneficial for our environment, but by pushing for this product, we are going to save money because this will be much cheaper that oil. According to Solar Center, a leader in this field, the panel will pay for itself in five years. This is our sputnik moment. This is our time to push for the future. The United States needs to wean itself off of our heavy reliance on oil and instead use green energy to harness the power we need to sustain ourselves. By switching to this new form of energy, we will save our environment and lives, but also as the private sector loves, tons and tons of money.
Why do we want one marshmallow instead of two?

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

ckckred This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 7, 2013 at 8:44 am
I agree, this issue is incredibly important, but has lost it's urgency.  Great article.
GrantK said...
Feb. 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Really interesting article.  
Jane said...
Feb. 1, 2013 at 8:19 am
Great article.  We are so dependent on gas, it would be great to lessen our dependence.  It's not as much in the news now as it has been.  Too many other issues:  gun control, fiscal cliff, economy,... that it may have lost it's urgency.  Too bad!  Again, great article.
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