Fluctuation of Prices

988 Words4 Pages
Exercise 1: Question 1. Everyone’s Gasoline Problem For any consumer who owns a vehicle and has to commute daily, the rise and fall of gas prices can be difficult to comprehend. In order to understand the variances for gas and oil prices, one must evaluate the core reasons for the fluctuation. According to recent research, the quick changes in oil and gas prices can be directly associated to several factors, which include supply and demand, market speculation, taxes and the expense of refining crude oil into gasoline (Herbert, 2008). These factors affect the price of oil and gas in independent ways, but also are related. Supply and demand has a direct affect on the price of crude oil and when supply is high, usually the price of oil decreases. When supply is low, the price of oil increases. In terms of demand for example, an oil price increase is seen as reducing aggregate demand because of a reduction in spending on goods and services (Olatubi & No, 2003). In terms of supply, this increase will likely produce even more widespread effects and oil price increases will cause overall production costs to rise, shifting the aggregate supply curve to the left (Olatubi & No, 2003). According to research, growing economies globally have increased the demand for crude oil while the supply has remained fairly constant. According to the Associated Press (2013), the average price for regular unleaded gasoline, which is $3.25 per gallon, is the lowest since December 26, 2012. In September 2013, AAA Mid-Atlantic said that the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the D.C. metro area was $3.55, compared to $3.56 the prior week (AP, 2013). Market speculators play a role because oil is a product to them that can be bought and sold based on instability of prices. Speculators try to forecast world events that could impact supply and demand. They buy contracts for oil to protect themselves from sudden increases in the price of oil and when prices rise, they can then sell their contracts that were purchased at a cheaper price for a significant profit (Herbert, 2008). Taxes also effect the variances in prices around the country. Refining oil to gas and transporting it to the marketplace also has a significant impact on the price of gas. A portion of the cost of gasoline goes to turning crude oil into fuel, moving it to gas stations, and retail markup.
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