Will gas protests bring down gas prices? Expert explains

KOLD News at 10 p.m. on Saturdays
Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 12:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Here in Arizona, AAA estimates over 919,000 Arizonans will travel this Fourth of July despite historically high gas prices.

In an effort to make prices come down, some are planning a gas protest starting July 3.

Experts say it could make a difference if done right.

“It costs me twice as much to get to work and back for the week so it’s kind of a pay cut every month,” driver, Michael Wiley says.

Even though we’re seeing gas prices decrease in Arizona, we’re still nearly 40 cents above the national average.

“It’s definitely taking a toll on my weekly budgeting as it is. Thankfully this location is a little bit cheaper gas than in town which is why I come here,” driver, David Vargas explains.

People are doing everything they can to save some money on gas.

Vargas says, “I try to use the A/C a little less, roll down my windows, drive less whenever possible. Like driving to work and working remotely whenever possible. I’ve had to adjust my weekly work schedule for sure.”

Some are even taking to social media to get anyone they can onboard with what they’re calling a “gas protest.” The plan is to not buy gas over a certain amount of days, for example July 3-5, in hopes it will lower the demand and bring down the price. Experts say it’s something that’s been tried in the past, but it’s not always successful.

“It’s not just that they would have to stop buying gas for three days, they would have to stop burning gas so they’re not just shifting their purchase back three or four days, right? If they do the same driving but buy the gas Wednesday instead of on Monday, nothing’s really changed,” associate professor of economics, Derek Lemoine says.

People have the right idea about how to bring prices down with a boycott, but it would have to be much longer than a few days and it would need to be the majority of drivers. He doesn’t believe these gas protests will have a big effect, if any on gas prices. But there are some things that could happen in the future that would make the prices drop significantly.

He says, “The big thing is the war in Ukraine, right? That’s disrupted a lot of local oil markets and markets abroad. If that political instability were to decrease in Ukraine and elsewhere, that would help a lot very quickly. The other is, that over time what happens when you have high prices, you get people using less gas, which brings the price down. The other big response is you have suppliers make new supply.”

But he says all of these things will take time. Higher gas prices could be here to stay for another year or two as these situations develop.

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