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We all dread pulling up to the gas station just to see that gas prices have increased again. We miss the days when filling up a tank didn’t mean breaking the bank but as we see the numbers go up, we rarely think, what are the true costs that are going into rising gas prices? The real question may be: Are we paying enough?

Comparing European and U.S. gas prices, prices in most European countries are at least double what we pay in the U.S.

One contributing factor to this phenomenon is that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses in the United States, and Americans are not seeing how much oil really costs. Many oil fields are drying up faster than predicted and many fear that “peak oil” is near. Peak oil is the point when the maximum rate of global petroleum is extracted and after this point, we will only see a decline in oil production.

The United States is constantly divided over whether to expand domestic oil production or protect the wildlife and environment that may be affected by drilling. There is also the issue of U.S. dependence on foreign oil and the problems that come with maintaining alliances with countries that don’t particularly like us our share our values.  This means interfering in international affairs and sending troops into dangerous places.

Last week while campaigning in an Illinois town, presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused the “gas-hike trio” of conspiring to drive up the cost of gasoline to make renewable energy more competitive referring to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

The world may be nearing peak oil, and while we try to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, we also run into issues and opposition as we try to expand our domestic production as well. The United States needs to increase dependence on renewable energy and in order to give way to alternative fuel sources, gas prices will need to rise to make the alternative market a viable one. If gas prices are kept artificially low, then people will not see a need for changing their habits.

Read more about this article: Chicago Tribune 


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