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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Panel to discuss oil prices

Senior+student+Rachel+Wolfe+fills+up+her+tank+on+Monday+at+the+Circle+K+located+on+Park+Avenue+and+Speedway+Boulevard.+A+panel+will+meet+to+discuss+the+changes+in+the+price+of+oil+from+6-8+p.m.+in+McClelland+Hall.
Courtney Talack

Senior student Rachel Wolfe fills up her tank on Monday at the Circle K located on Park Avenue and Speedway Boulevard. A panel will meet to discuss the changes in the price of oil from 6-8 p.m. in McClelland Hall.

For those who are happy that gas prices are just above $2, and for those who are wondering why, questions can be answered today from 6-8 p.m. at the Office of Economic Education’s panel discussion, “Plummeting Oil Prices – Good News or Bad?” 

This free public event will be held in Room 207 the Berger Auditorium at McClelland Hall.

The panel will consist of three economists speaking about oil prices from different perspectives. 

“Like everybody else, we’ve noticed that gas prices have gone down by 50 percent,” said Dirk Mateer, director of the Office of Economic Education. “You can’t miss gas prices falling. It’s been a big topic of conversation.”

Mateer will be one of the panelists speaking. He said they started planning this event about two months ago and wanted to hold this event sooner rather than later; although he said he hopes prices will stay low, they most likely won’t.

There will be refreshments before the event and a Q&A session after the panelists speak.

“If you’ve ever heard that economists tend to be dull, be prepared, because these three speakers are not,” said Mark Sammons, the program coordinator for the Office of Economic Education. “They are incredibly engaging, articulate, entertaining and vigorous speakers who are fascinating to listen to.”

According to Mateer, Price Fishback will speak about the history of oil exploration. He will talk about the 19th century and how in some places, there used to be oil resting on the surface of the ground that you could easily scoop off. Fishback will also go into how people started finding oil below the surface.

Mike Staten will then talk about how price changes affect consumers, going over the benefits and other products affected by price drops, Mateer added.

“From a consumer standpoint, just hearing how that happened and how or why gas prices may or may not stay low is interesting,” Mateer said. “But also from a bigger picture, what caused them to fall, the strategic elements that go into gasoline production, and whether or not to open new oil wells to convert to gasoline is interesting.”

Mateer said he will step up at the end to talk about the future and what may happen next.

Sammons said that around 80-100 people have already registered, but they are expecting even more to attend. Although registering guarantees your seat, he said it is not necessary.

From a strictly economic perspective, if you understand where oil prices come from and how this market works, Mateer said, you can most likely understand how any other market works. He added that events such as these are important for being truly informed citizens.

“We take for granted when things work in our favor, and when things don’t work in our favor, we might wonder why and feel powerless,” Sammons said. “It’s important to understand the elements of the economy, so we can make better decisions and understand the mechanics of how the world around them works.”

Mateer encourages students to attend and see how the economics they’ve learned in class apply to a real-life situation.

Those interested can visit oee.eller.arizona.edu/programs to register.

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Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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