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Social Studies
Grade: Senior

#3191. The Price is Right?

Social Studies, level: Senior
Posted Mon Jul 26 16:49:06 PDT 2004 by Ed Walters (
Texas A & M at Commerce, Quinlan, Tx., U.S.A.
Materials Required: student vocabulary journals, pens/pencils/paper, classroom blackboard,copies of "A Primer on Gasoli
Activity Time: 1 class period and one homework assignment
Concepts Taught: critical thinking, cooperative learning

1. The teacher will provide both a copy of " A Primer on Gasoline Prices" and a worksheet to stimulate thoughtful reading. The following home work questions might serve as examples:

a. Based on the information given, what is the dollar (cent) amount that each of the 4 major price components of the 2002 average price? What are the likely amounts at $2.00 a gallon?

Component 2002 Price $2.00

Distribution/Marketing _________ __________
Refining costs/profits _________ __________
Federal/State Taxes _________ __________
Crude Oil _________ __________
Total _________ __________

b. Why are gasoline prices different from one time of the year to another
c. Why is the price of gasoline likely to be different in Dallas and Omaha?

2. A discussion of the homework reading and worksheet assignment will start the next class session. The discussion should also touch on supply/demand and the basic influences on demand. Included in the discussion would be an identification of new words for the vocabulary journals as well as those for the class generated "Word Wall"

3. The students will then be presented with the following question on the board: What do you think the American consumer can do about gasoline prices at the pump? After a short explanation of the question and the evaluation system the class would be given a predetermined time period (suggested: 10 minutes) to individually think about the question. As an aid to the thinking as well as an organizer for activities to follow, a worksheet with the these questions might be distributed:

What can the consumer do to drive down prices at the pump?
Short term activities?
Long term activities?
Will these activities be effective?
Why or why not?

4. At the end of the time period each student would be paired with another student of greater or lesser ability for another predetermined time period (suggested: 10 minutes). The two students would be asked to come up with a cooperative response to the question to be presented to the class not to exceed 2 minutes in duration.

5. Each pair of students would then make their presentation to the class. If time permits the students could field questions on the response. Finally the teacher will sum up with the desired responses and field any additional questions.

Further Questions for Discussion:

-- How does the operation of the gasoline market compare to the popular conception of a free market?
-- How are the declining numbers of U.S. refineries affecting the price of gasoline?
-- What has been the historical impact of environmental programs on the gasoline market?
-- What role does OPEC play in the pricing of gasoline?
-- Are alternate fuels a possible solution to lower energy prices?
-- What impact will China likely have on the price of crude oil in the future?
-- How will the continuing merging/consolidating of major oil companies affect the price of gasoline?

Evaluation / Assessment:
Students will be evaluated based on the successful completion of the homework assignment, participation in class, the pairing discussion and the pairing presentation to the class.

Component, excise, significant, formulation, distribution, marketing, terminals, Ethanol, fluctuate, seasonality, wholesalers, inventories, volatile, commodities, proximity

Students can be reformed into foursomes from the start or after formulating a response as a twosome.

Additional Web Resources:

Price Elasticity

Gasoline Prices

Oil Refineries