INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Economists say the high gas prices are likely here to stay, for at least the next several months, as some normalcy returns. Experts tell us the cost is ultimately a supply and demand issue, brought on by the pandemic.
Drivers told us the increased prices is causing them to tighten their family budgets.
“We’re just trying to curb spending in other areas so that we can afford to fill up our tanks,” Suzanne Murphy said.
Ball State University Economist Michael Hicks said it’s been about six or seven years since we paid this much for gas. But Hicks explained the prices don’t surprise him considering the pandemic.
“What we’re seeing right now is just the natural result of the economy beginning to grow fairly well and Americans buying a lot of stuff that has to hit the interstate and that causes prices to go up,” Hicks said.
Hicks said he cannot predict when prices will stop increasing.
“I do think by next spring or winter time, we’ll see better prices,” Hicks said. “And again, there’s nothing to suggest that we would have persistent growth in energy prices.”
Hicks explains the reason some states have lower gas prices depends on taxes.
“So, if you have a low gas tax and a high sales tax to pay for roads then maybe you’re going to have a little bit lower gasoline price,” Hicks said. “But it’s made up somewhere else.”
Social worker Yvette Howes said the gas prices do impact her family’s budget, and she notices her clients finding themselves in difficult predicaments.
“We have the elder folks who are trying to get to their appointments, and they have to make decisions,” Howes said. “‘Am I going to pay for my medicines, am I going to pay for gas to get to my doctors’ appointments to get the prescription?'”
Howes also said she is worried the gas prices could take a mental toll on community members.
“Because people who haven’t seen their elder relatives are thinking, ‘can I afford to even go drive and see them in Ohio or Kentucky or in other parts of the state,'” Howes said.
Hicks added travelers will likely pay more for airline tickets and fees for the holidays, along with rental cars.