Teenagers have faced a myriad of challenges in the last few years, dealing with virtual school, lockdowns, and limited social opportunities. Now, they are struggling, like many Americans, with high gas prices. As of June 2, 2022, the national average gas price was $4.71 per gallon, a sharp contrast to a year ago, when the national average gas price was just above $3 — an increase of about 55%. As part of a lower-wage and part-time workforce, teenagers are particularly affected by the high gas prices. The rise in gasoline prices will make it more difficult for teenagers to afford to drive a car to school, extracurricular activities, or work.

This rapid increase in gas prices impacts teenagers’ earnings at a time when they may be trying to buy necessities, contribute to their household income, or save up for college. As unskilled or semi-skilled laborers, teenagers typically have jobs in the retail trade or food service industries. With the average paycheck for unskilled workers averaging $15.71 per hour, the high gas prices force young people and low-skilled laborers to spend a greater amount of their paychecks on transportation and further reduce their take-home pay. In addition to the personal challenges that higher gas prices are inflicting on teenagers, the economy will also lose a valuable source of labor. The U.S. is already experiencing a large labor shortage and businesses in search of unskilled labor will have an even harder time filling their open positions. This significant rise in gas prices is not only presenting teenagers with near-impossible decisions about school, work, and family obligations but also impacting the economy on a broader scale. 

Instead of trying to lay the blame elsewhere, or arguing that this “incredible transition” is actually good for Americans, President Biden and his administration must recognize that their policies have exacerbated the problem and find actual solutions to the pain at the pump. While the elites in Washington, driving their Teslas, may feel unaffected by the gas prices, hard-working Americans of all ages are being hurt by the high gas prices and they can’t afford to wait long for a solution.