In Durango, you can stroll through downtown and find plenty of donation cash jars in businesses, window paintings, and street art in support of Ukraine. If these elements don’t serve as a large enough reminder of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, a trip to the gas station might.
The war not only put countless Ukrainian citizens in danger and constant fear but is also revealing unsettling implications to the rest of the world, reaching all across North America as the gas prices rise. In Durango, we have seen gas go for as high as $4.51 per gallon, as of April 17.
On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then, support from the U.S. to Ukraine has been given through funding, resources and political action like sanctions on Russia, Nate Peach, a visiting assistant economics professor at FLC, said.
When asked about the reason behind the gas price increase, Peach said that the increase is due to a multitude of causes.
One of them is the invasion of Ukraine, he said.
“Western Europe and the United States have tried to isolate Russia economically,” Peach said. “Russia is a big player in the oil market.”
In 2021, the United States “imported about 8.47 million barrels per day of petroleum from 73 countries,” and “exported about 8.63 million b/d of petroleum to 176 countries and 4 U.S. territories” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Among the top five countries that the United States imports oil from, Russia is listed as number three.
Another, more basic, reason for the increase in gas prices is an increase in demand, Peach said.
“As we come out of the pandemic and things improve, we’re driving more, we’re traveling more,” Peach said.
One FLC student, Sydney Firebaugh, said she’s concerned about the gas prices rising because she doesn’t earn enough to fill her tank.
Patricia Peña, another student at FLC, said that she lives very close to campus and that while she is concerned about the price increase and how it will affect her financially, it has also encouraged her to start walking to school instead of driving up the hill every day.
While many students are trying to figure out how they will navigate this new obstacle, the gas stations that are nearest the school are holding out hope.
Kathie Sanchez, the store manager of a nearby gas station to the FLC campus, said that instead of seeing a decrease in business, she has actually seen an increase.
Sanchez said that the gas station she works at does its very best to keep the margins on gas prices as slim as possible on a normal basis in order to keep up with the ever-changing gas prices.
Similarly, James Claw, an employee at another gas station nearby FLC, said that he does not feel that business will change much due to the price increase because of the proximity of the gas station to the college.
Many may be wondering when the increases will end. When will things go back to normal, or is this our new normal?
Peach predicts that we will see more economic sanctions throughout the world as the war goes on, he said.
Peach said that oil is a global market, meaning that the prices are determined by people all over the world. With regard to the oil business, when there is disruption with a major player in the field, it almost guarantees an impact on the prices for everyone.
“Even if you don’t literally buy oil from Russia, you still see the price increase,” he said.