By Lea Shores
Staff reporter

Anyone who thinks that the ongoing conflicts in the Middle-East and North Africa doesn’t affect them is severely disillusioned.
Drive by the Dillon’s gas pump and notice that gas is around $3.20 per gallon. As of Sunday, the national average for regular fuel was $3.29, with prices as high as $3.71 in some places.

Unrest in parts of the world has made some fearful that the oil supply might become disrupted. This fear became a partial reality when Libya joined the list of countries in chaos. It went unnoticed by most of us, but there were some disruptions to the shipment of high quality crude oil from Libya, pushing the cost per barrel over $100.

This is only the second time in history that oil has cost over $100, the first being in 2008.

Paying so much for gas may seem like just a nuisance to us now, but we need to be prepared to pay more at the pump.

The economy was finally entering recovery and we have been allowing ourselves more luxury, including travel. The increased demand of fuel has pushed the cost of fuel higher still.

If Algeria, Libya’s eastern neighbor, suffers any cut off oil shipments, the cost of oil could rocket to over $220 a barrel.
Imagine the price at the pump then.

It’s not over. As consumers, we’re going to have to make up for the rising cost of fuel somewhere else. Some might have already noticed an increase in prices at the supermarket.

It takes fuel to distribute food all across the country. A lot of it.

Admittedly, even with the sharp increase in gas prices, the United States still has some of the cheapest fuel costs in the world.
However, many of us will not be able to keep our present lifestyle long with the rising cost of fuel.

We have to be prepared.

No, I’m not talking about creating stockpiles of nonperishable’s in the basements and expecting doomsday.

We’ve known for a long time that the supply of crude oil is limited and some have speculated that we are rapidly running out. It seems like a good time for us all to start thinking about a more sustainable lifestyle.

Already, many of us have had to cut down on pointless trips to Wichita or not go home as often.

However, some of us come to Southwestern from a distance several days a week or more. So we eat out less and buy only the necessary items.

We hear all the time to make green choices and unfortunately, some of these choices, like driving less, carpooling and eating locally, could be forced upon us.

It’s possible that things will smooth out in the Middle East and Africa and the cost of fuel will drop back to what is “normal” but it’s only a matter of time until we have to deal with the real looming issue of a permanent disruption of the crude oil supply.
Our small changes now will help us to make big changes later, when the situation is more dire.

Lea Shores is a senior majoring in English. You may e-mail her at lea.shores@sckans.edu.