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How Gas Prices Are Stealing Teen Freedom

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Man shocked by gas prices at the fueling pump, EPS 8 vector illustration

What is the one thing that gives teens their first taste of freedom? Driving! One thing almost all teens can agree on is their dream, from about age 14, to reach 16.5 so they can take their driving test and hit the road. We spend our whole lives to this point, mostly with a perspective from the back seat, relying on our parents to take us everywhere we want to go. We can’t hang out with friends or go to the mall without having to beg our parents to interrupt their schedule to fit our plans into their time. Gas prices affect this teen dream, because the gas prices are so high and teens don’t have a lot of money. We are unable to consistently afford the price of gas which limits our freedom of being able to drive. 

We finally got there – at age 16.5. We study, we practice driving and we pass the test! We finally get our freedom….or do we?

After all, is it really freedom when you still have to ask your parents to use their car or their credit card to pay for gas. With gas prices being sky high it feels more like we are trapped. Teens are having to get jobs to even afford the gas that they are using. Junior, Brooklyn Mercado from the article “Teen Drivers Hit Hard by Soaring Gas Prices” written by Jasmine Youn and Karis Choi admits that she had to get a job since gas prices have increased and that she spends majority of her earnings on gas. We have to think twice before going on a road trip with friends or even driving to school or work. Lower gas prices would create more freedom to go where we want when we want without worrying how much it will cost us.

There is one thing we didn’t consider, how do we afford our new freedom. The price of gas is like a constant drain of our already bare wallets. Lower gas prices would mean that we would have money available to pay for our first car, the maintenance, help pay for the gas or insurance so we don’t have to rely on our parents to pay for everything. This isn’t all about us new drivers, lower gas prices would be beneficial for all ages. Families with new drivers would save money on gas for all the trips to and from practices and school. Airlines are affected by these gas prices. When gas prices are high these airline companies are forced to increase their prices offered to travelers according to Jean Folger in the Investopedia article “How Gas Prices Affect the Economy”. Businesses that rely heavily on transportation would save money too which would help the economy and allow businesses to pass savings down to us. 

Some people might worry that lower gas prices might have downsides, like hurting the environment because people will be more likely to drive more, but the pros arguably far outweigh the cons in this scenario. 

When you are just starting out behind the wheel all you can think about is how to make driving more affordable. According to Madeleine Scinto from Business Insider with gas being so costly there has been a decline of teens even getting their licenses at all. So if you ask me and other new drivers we are all in favor of lower gas prices as it would give us more freedom, be more affordable and maybe even give our parents their lives back now and then.


Works Cited

Folger, Jean. “How Gas Prices Affect the Economy.” Investopedia, 1 9 2021, Accessed 15 February 2024.

Scinto, Madeleine. “Gas Prices May Be The Reason So Many Teens Have Ditched Their Cars.” Business Insider, 8 December 2011, Accessed 15 February 2024.

Youn, Jasmine, and Karis Choi. “Teen Drivers Hit Hard by Soaring Gas Prices.” The Wildcat, 13 December 2021, Accessed 15 February 2024.

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