Ask any student at Grand Valley State University who has bought a semester’s worth of textbooks, and they’ll tell you that the only thing worse than wasting money on things you want is wasting money on things you need.

When it comes to filling up at the pump, paying almost $4 a gallon for a car of any size is almost worse than only getting $15 back for a book you paid $150 for.

According to Dearborn-based auto club AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, gas prices in Michigan average at $3.83 per gallon, just one cent more than the nationwide averages but still less than bigger metropolitan areas like Chicago, which tops off at a tear-evoking range of $4.60 to $4.95.

That’s almost $5 a gallon — just to add insult to injury, imagine how many foot-long subs you could buy with that money instead of filling up your whole tank.

And despite all that’s been said here, that’s not even the worst part.

In a recent article published in USA Today, like most things in the world today, speculators attributed the rise in gas prices to “tensions in the Middle East.” However, energy contract trader and author of “Oil’s Endless Bid: Taming the Unreliable Price of Oil to Secure Our Economy,” Dan Dicker, is quoted as saying: “An overwhelming avalanche of data tells you (U.S.) prices should be lower. But with some of these geopolitical problems, it could get worse.”

So while speculators make big cash off of crying wolf, our wallets get impossibly thinner yet, and tensions in the Middle East take the blame.