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What Goes Into a Gallon of Gas

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The drumbeat has begun in the media: gas prices are on the rise and many states already have gas prices over $3 per gallon. The problem in most this reporting is that they don’t explain why prices are high (largely because of unique fuel specifications and/or state taxes) or rising (seasonal transition to summer-blend-fuel and rising oil prices).



There is probably no commodity in the United States talked about more than gasoline, making gas prices among the most recognizable price points in American commerce. And with good reason: Gasoline purchases account for approximately 5% of consumer spending in any given year. In 2017, the average household spent $2,450 for gasoline, or 4.3% of total household income.



As of May 2, AAA reports that the average national gas price is $2.814 per gallon, compared to $2.372 this time a year ago. And with Memorial Day weekend three weeks away, headlines are already suggesting that the summer-drive season will feature higher prices at the pump.



Current market conditions aside, gas prices are among the least understood prices in the U.S. because they often appear to increase or decrease without much reason. To help bring clarity to the discussion, NACS has developed an online resource, “The Price Per Gallon,” that explains the factors that can cause gas prices to go up or down and vary from store to store.



“NACS has created dozens of backgrounders that help explain market conditions so that reporters and customers best understand the dynamics behind their fill up. After all, convenience stores sell 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and are best equipped to explain what goes into that fueling stop that 40 million Americans do every day,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard.