Breaking down the numbers on gas prices

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Over time, gas prices have risen and fallen depending on a number of circumstances. According to the Energy Information Administration, multiple factors lead to the price we pay at the pump, including foreign disputes and disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico. While most people don't like high gas prices, very few understand the complexities of the cost.

According to the EIA, the price of gasoline is broken down into four parts. Crude oil costs make up 76% of our price at the pump. State and federal taxes then take 12%, with distribution/marketing and refining costs and profits eating the remaining 12%.

"Experts" point to the increasing price of crude oil as the main culprit of high gas costs; however, speculation in the oil markets is also a factor, according to the Commodities Futures Trade Commission.

Click here for a chart of the journey gasoline makes before it gets to your gas station.

The federal tax on gasoline is 18-cents/gallon. State taxes vary greatly. Arkansas' tax is nearly 22-cents/gallon and Missouri's is 17-cents/gallon. Washington's tax is nearly 38-cents/gallon, the highest in the country, while Georgia is the lowest at just 7-cents/gallon.

"I can usually almost get two weeks out of a tank of gas now that I bought a smaller vehicle versus what I had," said Elaine Kee. "I probably spend about $200, $150-200 on mine. My husband spends at least $300, if not more, on his pickup truck."

Kee said she owns a construction company with her husband. Gas prices have impacted their bottom line and family budget.

"It makes you more conscious on what you can do. Just like with our traveling, you know, with my daughter plays sports and we travel. We're supposed to be gone Memorial Day weekend. Are we going to drive or are we going to take the train?" said Kee. "It's slowly impacting the business right now. We always try and give the best price to our customers, but if it goes over the four and five dollar mark, we're going to have to start charging our customers more, which we really don't want to have to do, but you have to do what you have to do."

Region 8 News reached out to multiple gas station owners, who all declined to comment about gas prices on camera. However, one former gas station owner said she never made money on gasoline, which was one reason she chose to offer food services. She said her business sometimes lost money on the sale of gasoline.

"I just feel like it's a no win situation. They've got us. If we want to drive or go to work or kids go to school, we have to pay for it," said Kee. "I had about a quarter of a tank and I went ahead and filled it up, because I drove on another end of town and saw that gas had already gone up to $3.59, so I thought I might as well top it off while I can."

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