The biggest single component of retail gasoline prices is the cost of the raw material used to produce the gasoline – crude oil. Recently, that price has been between $60 and $70 a barrel, depending on the type of crude oil purchased. With crude oil at these prices a standard 42 gallon barrel translates to $1.43 to $1.66 a gallon at the pump. Excise taxes add another 49 cents a gallon on average nationwide.
So the price for gasoline is already at $1.43 or more per gallon even before adding the cost of refining, transporting, and selling the gasoline at retail outlets. Crude oil costs account for about 57 percent of what people are paying at the pump. Excise taxes average 18 percent. That leaves just 25 percent for the refiners, distributors, and retailers.