Breaking News
More () »

What are you paying for in that gallon of gas?

Crude oil makes up the largest percentage of the cost of a gallon, but its not the only thing you are paying for at the pump.

WASHINGTON — Gas prices continue to hover at near-record highs. The state of Maryland has already taken a gas tax holiday.  Virginia is looking at one as well.

Beyond the gas tax, there are several other items priced into that gallon you buy, but the big-ticket part is cost of crude oil.

RELATED: Gas prices plummet as Hogan signs bipartisan bill to suspend gas tax


What factors make up the price of a gallon of gas?



A gallon of gas breaks down into several costs: price of crude oil, taxes, the cost of refining and the cost of distribution and marketing.


“The biggest single factor that drives changes in prices of gasoline is a change in the price of crude oil,” Mark Finley said.  “And the price of crude oil is not controlled by the companies. It's set in a global marketplace as a result of global trends in demand and supply.”

“A little more than half of the price of the gasoline relates to the price of crude oil,” Ed Hirs said. “Now, of course, that percentage has been up a little bit here recently, as much as two-thirds of it.”

RELATED: No, a gas tax holiday does not guarantee lower gas prices

The EIA has those percentages broken down on its website. As of February 2022:

  • Crude oil makes up about 61% of that total price.
  • Oil refining makes up 14%.
  • Taxes 14%.
  • Distribution & marketing round out that last 11%.

This is all for the average gallon of gas in the US. But gas stations set their own prices, so it’ll vary from station to station.

How much does the gas station make off that gallon gas?

Our experts said it’s a lot less than you imagine. On average, gas stations make about 5 cents per gallon of gas sold.

WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the WUSA9 app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.
Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.

Before You Leave, Check This Out