By ABBY GROSS

Many people depend on cars to see their families, get to work, and buy groceries. They fill up their gas tanks a couple times a month or more, and have very little control over how much they have to pay to fill up.

Gas is made from oil, which can be found at only a few places on earth, and does not replace itself quickly. When oil reserves fall and demand for oil stays high, prices begin to rise at the gas pump, and that is exactly what is happening now in the U.S.

There are two ways to lessen the problem: One way is to increase the supply of oil by opening up emergency stores of oil. The other way is to use less oil. Most people agree that in the long run, dependence on oil should be reduced through alternate means of energy and public transportation.

Oil is a political issue affecting U.S. foreign policy, and it has an effect on regular people who must be able to travel without spending a fortune. While prices go up at the gas pump, big oil companies are posting some of their biggest profits ever. In April, Exxon Mobil reported the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history.