Make us your home page

Several factors drive gas prices higher

Skyrocketing crude oil prices are the main reason prices at the pump are breaking records. Four years ago crude oil accounted for 47 percent of the price of a gallon of gas. In January it was up to 68 percent, the most recent figure available, and today's number likely would be higher. A barrel of crude produces about 42 gallons of gas, so a $1 increase in the price of crude becomes a 2.38-cent increase for a gallon of gas. A few years ago it took several weeks for a crude oil price increase to work its way down to the pump. Now it happens within a day or two. "The minute oil companies see a change in crude oil, they immediately post a price increase at wholesale," said Jim Smith, president of the Florida Petroleum Marketers. But prices at the pump reflect more than just the price of crude. Here's a breakdown:

Taxes: 13%

Taxes average 51.6 cents per gallon in Florida, but vary based on local taxes.

Distribution and marketing: 11%

Most gasoline is shipped by pipeline or tanker ship to terminals, then delivered by truck to retail outlets. Marketing includes credit card fees and profits for retailers. Independents may cut prices on gasoline to bring in customers for food and other items sold at bigger profit margins. Competi-tion — what the station across the street is charging — also plays a role.

Refining: 8%

Refineries turn crude oil into gasoline, fuel oil, kerosene, jet fuel, asphalt and other products

Crude oil: 68%

The price of crude oil is affected by: • Supply and demand: Supply varies with inventory levels and disruptions in distribution, such as hurricanes, oil field and pipeline problems. When refineries switch in the spring to production of summer gasoline blends, temporary shortages may develop. Demand fluctu-ates seasonally (winter heating/summer driving) and with economic booms and slowdowns. • International politics: Prices rise when tensions rise in the Middle East or oil-producing nations talk tough or cut production. • Weak U.S. dollar: As the dollar falls, oil prices tend to rise to keep the return to foreign oil producers high. • Speculation: Commodi-ties traders betting on price increases drive up prices.

Records set Wednesday

Crude oil: $109.92

Regular-grade gas

in Tampa Bay area: $3.243

Diesel in Tampa Bay area: $3.859

Several factors drive gas prices higher 03/12/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 10:20am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Memorial Day sales not enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay malls


    TAMPA — Memorial Day sales at Tampa Bay area malls were not enough to compete with the beach and backyard barbecues this holiday weekend.

    Memorial Day sales weren't enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay area malls over the long weekend. 
  2. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business


    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  3. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts


    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  4. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts


    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]