Gas prices are painful, but how they arrived at their current higher levels is a complex mix of ever changing factors.
USA-GAS PRICES - That's the sound of money flowing out of Americans' wallets- and into their cars.
According to a new Energy Information Administration report: gas
prices averaged $3.939 across the nation
Price signs like these in New York City already reflecting gasoline comfortably over $4 a gallon- and the busy summer driving season, when prices typically peak, is yet to come.
How that price is determined is complex- and can change at a moment's notice.
Patrick DeHann of GasBuddy.com explains:
PATRICK DEHANN, SENIOR PETROLEUM ANALYST, GASBUDDY.COM SAYING:
"Certainly the price of crude oil is a big influence on the price of gasoline but as we approach summer we also see that refineries and their status of production certainly impact gas prices, as well as geopolitical issues, similar to that of what we have seen in Iran certainly can make an impact as well."
So at about $4 a gallon- The Energy Information Administration breaks it down like this:
In February of 2012, 72 percent of the price was determined by the price of crude oil; the next 12 percent- the cost of refining that gas. The government gets its share- an average of 11 percent for taxes, and then add on 5 percent for distribution and marketing.
Right now there isn't much the average driver can do to control the impact of higher prices- but that is changing as consumers buy into a new generation of cars hitting the road.
Jim Bianco, President of Bianco Research:
JIM BIANCO, PRESIDENT, BIANCO RESEARCH SAYING:
"Gas mileage is their #1 concern when buying a car. You see them picking the highest mileage option of all of the engines so yeah over the longer term, say in the next couple of years that change is going to have a big impact on the price of gasoline."
But that's down the road. Right now drivers have to contend with high gas prices- which could potentially dent the U.S. recovery.
Bobbi Rebell, Reuters