As people watch their gas dollars roll on by what are they thinking. Consumer Jason Choate said, "It seems like it comes up and goes down pretty often. I would like to know why that changes so much, but I don't know where to find out."
The Stock Exchange is a good start according to the Department of Energy. The crude oil market gobbles up sixty percent of your gas dollar. Morgan Oil vice-president Doug Jordan explained, "It's traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange and so you can look at crude oil, the price of it everyday to find out if gasoline is going to go up and down. That's the benchmark."
Refining costs take up ten percent of your dollar. Another eleven percent is for distribution and marketing. Taxes eat up twenty percent of your gas dollar explaining why prices fluctuate from city to city and state to state. Consumer Betty Houchin is more concerned about block to block. "I'm on the way in one direction and I can buy it cheaper in the other direction so later I will go down to where the prices are a little bit better."
Competition can drive prices down but it can also drive stations out of business. More frequently you see this site, small, individually owned gas stations driven out of business by larger chains. Typically stations add only a few cents, based on supply and demand and station expenses. Jordan said, "You're buying a corner. You want the best location. You got a tremendous investment and most of it is borrowed money. You got to get a return on your investment."