As of late, there has been a gas shortage in the Phoenix and Tucson areas of Arizona. For more than two weeks, Circle K stores have struggled to keep gasoline in stock. While Circle K has not provided an estimate of how many stores are without fuel, a spot check states that about 1 in 5 stores are without gas in the metropolitan areas of Arizona. While other chains of gas suppliers are open, it has been hard for many to get gas.

Fry's gives discounts on gas to members at Circle K, making this situation extremely difficult for those depending on those discounts to afford gasoline. While this discount is on our minds, so is the fact that prices are raising for gas. Affording gasoline is not a luxury everyone has so when prices go up, that makes things more difficult for those that depend on it. Students, part-time workers, and those working for minimum wage are definitely feeling the effects of the gasoline shortage.

This fuel constraint could last through the summer!

The severe weather our country has experienced the last few weeks has a lot to do with the shortage. The storms have closed various railroads and ethanol plants; this is hindering the process to get gasoline across the country. Ethanol is a fuel additive made from corn and other plant materials. Throughout the summer, the price increase will only get worse.

While we are not in a state of emergency due to the fuel shortage and it is only affecting Circle K stores so far, it is still concerning according to experts. If we do begin to have a major issue in our state, suppliers can request a state waiver of the fuel requirements, which must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The fact that this issue is projected to last throughout the summer is concerning due to the fact that gas prices always rise during the summer months. This rise is due to people going on vacation and road trips causing it to be more expensive to produce gas for everyone. The natural rise of vacation season on top of the rise due to the lack of ethanol supplies is very concerning. When will the rise in price end? Will we be up to $5 or $6 a gallon before things begin to get better?

How do college students feel about this?

When I asked fellow college students how they feel about the gas shortage the overwhelming answer is that college students already do not have money and this shortage is going to be hard on our wallets this summer. Personally, this is my first summer living in Arizona, which I decided on due to the cost of living being lower than what I am used to. Having such inflation on gas prices due to this ethanol shortage scares me. I am afraid of how much of my monthly budget will end up going towards gas that normally would not. This is a reality that many of the people in Arizona will experience, not just college students.