There are certainly various pros and cons that exist as a result of paying less at the pump. To get the youth perspective on low gas prices, one of our mentors decided to initiate a debate as the task for the most recent challenge/activity. The 60 Aboriginal high school students in the In.Business program are in groups of 6-7 and complete a series of challenges facilitated by their volunteer mentor. Jude Gerrard, who mentors a group of 6 students from across Atlantic Canada called the Nalagit Entrepreneurs, assigned the following task:
“One of the most interesting topics in business news lately has been gas prices. They have not been this low in many years. Over the past several weeks I have been listening to media reports of how prices can affect the economy. For challenge #3 I want you to take a look at both sides of the gas price paradox: good for the economy versus bad for the economy, and choose one side. I would like you to prepare a couple paragraphs defending your choice, and post them to the main Facebook group. Also, please comment on each of the posts by your group members.”
When this was assigned to students I was intrigued and very much looking forward to what the they would come up with. Once students started posting their responses, I was very impressed (as I’m sure Jude as well) with what they had to say. Most mentioned how they thought the low gas prices were a good thing in the short term because everyone has a little bit more money in their pockets. However, it was other arguments, both for and against, that were most impressive.
One student mentioned that she had booked her graduation trip to Cuba recently and paid more because it was purchased in American dollars. She went on to discuss the correlation between the price of gas and the value of the Canadian dollar. Another student stated that low gas prices, providing they stay low through summer/fall, will help to increase tourism around the region. Another student focused on the decline of the Alberta oil sands and the effect layoffs of Atlantic Canadian workers in Alberta will have on the local economy. One student described Canada as an “energy reliant” nation. She went on to say that virtually every part of the Canadian economy will eventually be affected by the low gas prices. For example, that dwindling gas prices may cause prices to increase on other items we buy on a regular basis. And finally, what I found most impressive was the student that stated the loss of tax revenue by various levels of government and its effect on the Federal Governments’ ability to balance the budget.
As adults, many of us are guilty (myself included), of sometimes underestimating the knowledge level of teens with respect to the economy. These 6 students (Amber Hiscock – Corner Brook High School; Katerina Basque – Waycobah School; Taneesha Stevens – Riverview High School; Celia Jones – L'nu Sipuk Kina'muokuom School; Nyesha Sylliboy – East Antigonish Educational Centre; Chad Sanipass – Bonar Law High School) are not only knowledgeable, but have a lot to say. My advice: if you’re interested to know what these students or any teen have to say about low gas prices (or any topic) – just ask them! You might be surprised with what they have to say!