Oil prices have drastically dropped, but what does this mean for oil companies in the upcoming future?
Photo By: Brea Jones, Photographer

By: Kadin Daigle, Copy Editor

The price of oil in America is at the lowest it has been in years. People are happy about this change, but many don’t stop to think about what this trend entails. Exactly why did oil prices drop so much, and how long will they stay as low as they are?

There are many factors that contributed to the recent change in oil prices. Geopolitical conflicts began to flare up in key oil regions all over the world, such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, around the same time, taking more than 3 million barrels per day off the market. As a result, America’s internal oil market has begun to have more of an impact.

“I think it’s a good thing that America is producing it’s own oil, finally. I just worry that [oil prices] could spike again,” says sophomore Justin Tijerino. “Personally, gas doesn’t affect me, but it [affects] my parents. Right now, [my parents] happy because gas is cheaper, but who knows when prices will be high again.”

In the mid-2000’s, oil prices were sharply rising due to the high global demand. In order to make more of a profit, oil companies began turning to “unconventional” techniques, such as fracking and horizontal drilling, to access more of the oil in America. These new methods have led to the recent drop in oil prices, since oil production is hindered in countries facing turmoil.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is confident that oil prices have finally hit rock bottom. However, OPEC still fears that prices may rise again. As long as the U.S. remains as energy independent as it has been, the price of gas should remain low.

Junior Valeria Nieri says, “I hope oil prices don’t go up again. I drive, and having cheaper oil just makes everything so much easier for me.”

In addition to the need for self-sufficiency due to geopolitical conflicts overseas, the demand for petroleum-based energy is not predicted to go down in the near future. By 2050, the U.S. population is predicted to grow by 26%, adding to the already high demand for energy.

While there are still numerous concerns about how all of the new methods of oil production in the U.S. will affect climate change or trade relations with other oil-rich countries, one thing is for certain: America is benefiting from this boom in production. The economy has a newfound vigor,  the energy sector is becoming more competitive in its manufacturing, which can lead to new jobs, and consumers in America are happy. Though economists and workers in the financial business may worry about the fluctuations of gas prices and the effects these changes can have, people who simply see the prices go up and down have a more positive standpoint.

Senior Taylor Jones says, “I’m only a senior in high school and I’m happy about the change. I can only imagine how happy others are about it.”

It isn’t very clear if—or when—gas prices will go up again. America has managed to press forward, sustain its people’s energy needs, and appears to be continuing to do so.