Why Does Everything Cost So Much?


Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

With inflation hitting the U.S. economy, the cost of living has increased.

Payton Tanner, Staff Writer

If you’ve been to a gas station or grocery store recently you may have noticed you are spending more money than you have in the past. You may find yourself wondering why everything costs more now. Is it because of the president? The war in Ukraine? The pandemic? Or has the rise in the cost of living been a long time coming?

Many Americans are asking these same questions as they find themselves spending considerably more money on fundamental items each month. Let’s investigate why these prices are going up and how much longer people can be expected to spend this much per month, as well as what this has in store for some of our seniors moving on to college and handling financial burdens that many hadn’t really thought about prior to college. 

According to The Denver Post, the population of Colorado has increased, adding about 774,518 new residents: increasing Colorado’s population by about 14.8% from 2010 to 2020. This leaves Colorado with approximately 5.8 million residents in total. As Colorado becomes a more populated state, prices  are rising as a result of the increased population. Although the number of Coloradans has surged significantly, reports state that the number of people moving to Colorado is dropping. As Colorado’s population begins to stabilize a little more, does this mean that its economy will as well, and does that also mean that people can expect to pay less for items?

Gas prices continue to rise; however, Colorado is among the ten cheapest states. (Photographer: Yassine Khalfalli.)

Gas Prices:

Across the United States, gas prices have been fluctuating in price.  On many social media platforms, people have been discussing these gas prices, with TikTokers like @the.hamilton.collection joking about the gas prices and suggesting that people can barely afford to get any gas due to the expense. Jokes aside, this has become a serious issue for many Americans, and many expect that these gas prices will remain elevated until the end of 2022. But why?

One of the factors playing into these prices is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia launched their invasion against Ukraine on Tuesday, February 24th, 2022;the invasion continues to this day. The U.S. has responded to this invasion by issuing the largest sanctions in history against Russia. The U.S. imports 8% of its oil from Russia, and with the U.S. aligning themselves with Ukraine in the midst of this invasion, that has caused the U.S. to lose out on some of the oil they once received from Russia. 

Another factor playing into why the gas prices have skyrocketed in the U.S. is the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic was at its peak, people were staying home more, therefore causing the demand for gas to go down as more and more people did not really need to make regular visits to the gas station. As the country begins to get rid of many of their restrictions and people begin to come back to school and work, more gas is being used. This is increasing the demand for gas and a decreased supply, causing gas prices to rise. 

This raise in price has affected all drivers young and old. Adults going to work have been affected with these prices as they observe the amount they are spending on gas rise significantly. This has also affected teenagers who are just beginning to drive, paying more then ever before for gas. 

“I have noticed the cost of my gas rising significantly, and I credit a lot of this raise in prices to the oil companies and the decisions that they have made to raise some of their prices. Personally, the gas prices raising has not had too large of an effect on me or my family, but I know some of my friends are definitely struggling with the amount they are spending on gas, and I have become more cautious with how much gas I use,”  sophomore Nayomi Johnson said. 

The rising price of gas has affected many Americans and people world wide because this raise in the price of gas is not an issue solely facing the U.S. According to Business Insider, energy companies around the world are struggling to keep up with the rising demand for gas, which is causing the raised prices. 

So when can you expect these prices to return to a normal? Good House Keeping states that fuel experts do not believe gas prices will return to below $4 until around November 2022, and recent estimates have suggested that with increased demands this summer, national averages may reach $5. As of now there is little you can do to lower these prices, so if you are a driver who is significantly affected by these prices, it is time to become more cautious of the amount you are using, and maybe help out the environment while you’re at it. You can walk or ride a bike to places near you instead of driving.  

In the last few years, Colorado has gained a significant number of new residents, factoring into the inflation. (Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash)

Cost of Living in Colorado:

In recent years you may have noticed surpluses of construction all around Colorado, with highways becoming busier, and your simple run to the grocery store becoming more and more draining because of  full parking lots and so many people. Due to the rise in Colorado’s popularity, many people who have moved to Colorado in recent years are causing the housing market to explode along with companies who have to produce more to keep up with the increased demand.

According to Norada Real Estate Investment, in Colorado the median price of a house sold in March was $660,000, which is up 3.9% from February, and displays an increase in 17.65% from last March. In the second quarter of 2021 the median price of a home in Colorado was $374,900, which is clearly significantly less than the current cost of a house in Colorado. 

Many Colorado natives who bought a house prior to the surge could make much more money if they were to sell their house now, compared to the original purchase price of the home. 

This has also had a potentially negative effect on high school students who are going to college and have to deal with the financial burdens they have not had to really think much about before. This also affects  college students who are working towards financial independence from their guardians. 

“I am very nervous about moving to college and the new financial responsibilities I will receive. Something I am going to have to be extra cautious about is budgeting and not becoming a prostitute,  being smart with my money,” senior Keona Sagen said.

With inflation hitting the economy, people need to watch their spending even more. This is another case of supply and demand, as the demand went down during the pandemic but has now rapidly increased,  leaving the economy struggling to catch up. 

As the economy begins to stabilize and the supply catches up to the demand, people will begin to see less fluctuation in costs, and their monthly bills will also begin to stabilize. However, there is no denying that inflation will be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future.