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Quickway FAQ

Why do gasoline prices fluctuate so much?

After the dramatic spike and then drop on prices in 2008, retail gasoline prices bottomed out in late December 2008 and then generally increased through 2009 up to a National average of $2.75 per gallon for regular on January 11, 2010. 

EIA analysis of the petroluem market points to the price of crude oil as the main contributor to the general increase in retail gasoline prices since the start of 2009.  Gasoline production and inventory levels relative to demand also influence prices.

Can I tell which country the gasoline at my local station comes from?

The EIA does not collect data on the source of gasoline sold at retail outlets.  Several factors make it difficult to say where gasoline at a local station originated:

- At a local station, a company may sell gasoline that was not produced by its own refineries.

- Gasoline from different refineries, owned by different companies, is often combined for shipment by pipeline.  Many companies may purchase gasoline at the same bulk terminal.

- The source of the crude oil used at company's refinery varies daily.  Most refiners use a mix of crude oils from domestic and foreign sources based on the oils' cost and availability.

What do I pay for in a gallon of regular gasoline?

1.  Crude Oil: The cost of crude oil as a share of the retail price varies over time and among regions of the country.

2.  Taxes: Federal, State, and local government taxes (not including county and local taxes) accounted for about 15% of the national average retail price of regular gasoline in December 2009.  Federal excise taxes were 18.4 cents per gallon and State excise taxes averaged 21.8 cents per gallon.

3.  Distribution & Marketing: Distribution, marketing and retail dealer costs and profits made up the next largest share of the retail price of gasoline in December 2009, accounting for roughly 11% of the retail price of regular gasoline.

4.  Refining: Refining costs and profits were the smallest part of the retail price of gasoline in December 2009, accounting for 7% for the retail price of regular gasoline.

How much gasoline does the United States consumer per year?

In 2008, The United States consumed about 137.80 billion gallons of gasoline, about 3% less than the record high of about 142.35 billion gallons consumed in 2007.  Consumption in 1998 was about 126.52 billion gallons.

How many retail gasoline stations are there in the United States?

There are almost 162,000 retail gasoline outlets in the United States.