How Are Gas Prices Determined

How are gas prices determined? Sometimes, it might seem as if only a few people are pulling the strings. However, the pricing of gas depends on many factors, including supply and demand, the national prices of gas and environmental factors. Understanding the way that the gas supply works can help you anticipate major changes in the price of gas and can help you save money overall. At the very least, you'll know exactly why you are paying what you are paying at the pump.

The Basic Components Of Gas Prices
The price you pay at the pump is a combination of different charges. Approximately 58% of the price you pay goes to the price of crude oil. The overall price of gas increases when the oil and gas companies experience shortages due to price increases from oil suppliers. In addition to the price of crude oil, the charge at the pump also includes 15% for federal and state taxes. The national and state governments use the revenue from gas in order to pay for public services. Approximately 17% goes to the costs of refining the oil and profits for gas and oil companies, including gas stations. Finally, 10% of the price of gas at the pump goes to distribution and marketing.

The Main Reasons For Price Increases
Since the biggest portion of the price of gas is the cost of crude oil, it makes sense that this price plays the biggest factor in price increases. Changes in tax laws aside, the price of crude oil can be considered the only major factor for the cost of gas. The laws of supply and demand also impact oil and have an effect on what you pay back home. When there is a shortage of gas, the price will go up.

Seasonal Fluctuations
Even when the price of crude oil is relatively stable, the price of gas can fluctuate depending on the season. The retail price of gas tends to be affected by the time of year. If you've ever thought that gas prices seem to rise in the summertime, you're not imagining things. During the summer time, there is a greater demand for gas across the country. Since more people are taking vacations and driving around than any other time of year, the result is higher gas prices. The price of crude oil generally increases 10 to 20 cents each month from January to June.

With this information, you can plan your vacations and big trips during the off-season, which might help you get a better price when you fill up the tank.

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