Why Gas Prices Go Up and Down
There are five primary factors that effect the price you pay for gas at the pump. Prices generally increase when the world crude oil market lowers their inventories. Also, when demand exceeds refinery capacity gas prices increase. The first factor that makes up the price of gas at your local station is crude oil suppliers. This makes up about 59% of the price you pay for gas and it is determined by the world's oil-exporting countries, particularly OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The amount of crude oil that these countries produce determines the price per barrel of oil.
The next factor that effects gas prices is the cost of refining the crude oil. This makes up about 10% of the total price of gas. The third factor is the cost of transporting the crude oil to a refinery, then the refined gas to a distribution point and finally to your local gas station. If you are buying a brand name of gasoline, the cost that company spends in marketing the or brand will also be added to the price you pay to buy from that brand. This makes up around 11% of the total price.
The forth factor accounts for about 20% of the total cost of gas, and it includes federal and local taxes. State, local and city taxes vary, accounting for some of the fluctuation you may see in gas prices in different geographical areas. The fifth factor is the markup at your local gas station. Obviously your local gas station is in business to make money and has employees to pay. So you know that they must make money on every gallon of gas they sell. You may be surprised however to learn that the amount is generally not more than 10 cent and may be as low as a penny per gallon! Some states do have laws governing station markup and require a minimum percentage markup to protect small stations from being put out of business by larger companies who may want to undercut them.
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