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Rising gas prices: Don't blame private gas station owners

Rising gas prices are again raising the blood pressure of Tampa Bay motorists.

As of Wednesday, the average price of unleaded gas in the area had reached $3.80, up 45 cents over the month and up 17 cents in just one week, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge report. A year ago, prices were at $3.63 a gallon.

Who you gonna blame?

The usual list of potential culprits is making the rounds: speculators driving up the markets; refineries making an early switch to costlier summer blend fuels. But think twice before venting to your local private gas station owners. Financial information firm Sageworks estimates privately held gas stations make less than three cents for every dollar of gas sold. In each of the past 10 years, the industry's net profit margin has been less than 3 percent, and as low as 1 percent at times.

Spending $50 to gas up lately? Here's where your money goes

Crude oil $34 68 percent

Taxes $6.50 13 percent

Distribution/marketing $4.25 8.5 percent

Refining oil into gas $4 8 percent

Gas station profit $1.25 2.5 percent

Source: Sageworks; eia.gov

Breaking down bay area prices

Price per gallon

RegularMidPremium
Wednesday$3.80$3.96$4.11
Week ago$3.63$3.81$3.95
Month ago$3.35$3.55$3.70
Year ago$3.63$3.78$3.90

Source: AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report

Rising gas prices: Don't blame private gas station owners 02/20/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:15pm]
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