Where Do Your Dollars Go When You Fill Up With Gas?

Have you ever wondered where your dollars go when you fill up your car at the gas station?

Thanks to a new graph published by fuel pump assembly retailer Auteria, we now know that gas station retailers receive the smallest percentage of the gallon’s cost, while drilling companies get nearly half of what you pay at the pump.

This graph was compiled last year and is based on data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as well as average 2016 gas costs – $2.15.

“For those in the petroleum industry, it may not be a surprise that drilling and production companies take the bulk of the amount paid for a gallon of gas,” said Ana Rivera, product manager at Auteria. “For consumers, however, it might be a shock to see how little gas retailers earn.”

According to the study, gasoline costs can be broken down as follows: 45% of the cost goes towards drilling, 21% to state, local and federal taxes, 18% to refining, 9% transportation, while retailers are left with the remaining 7%.

Based on these numbers, the average gasoline retailer earned roughly 15 cents for every gallon of gasoline sold. However, from that 7% they earn, retailers must also cover the costs of storing and dispensing the fuel, plus payment processing and store overhead costs.

For example, payment processing charges are usually 2-3% of the total bill. So if a retailers earns 7% of the cost of a gallon of fuel and then needs to pay that 3% processing charge, their total share falls to 4% – less than 10 cents per gallon.

“As a fuel system parts manufacturer, we are obviously preoccupied with fuel efficiency and saving our customers money on gasoline,” added Rivera. “This data is a reminder that the best way to save money on fuel is to use less of it. It’s not as if there are big savings to be had in the gasoline production pipeline, at least as far as we can tell.”

  • Ilbirs

    Imagine a Brazilian reading this article and thinking that for every liter (0.26 gal) of gasoline paid, 45% goes on taxes that surely won’t return in better roads:





    Americans are doing well with the 21% that goes to governments.


    • Vitor Meireles

      The crazy thing is … Even without all the 45% tax, 1 Liter of Gasoline here in my city (in Brazil) would cost $0.70 when the liter in the US, according to the study, even with (21%) taxes, costs $ 0.57. There is something very wrong and this goes beyond taxes.

  • KSegg

    I’ve had a few buddies work at gas stations and have known this for years. The only money gas stations make are from snacks, food, beverages, and if there’s an attached garage, auto repair work.

    • brn

      I continue to hear that and I continue to not believe it. I believe it to be a myth.

      If it were true, why do they have pay at the pump? Why do they leave their pumps on when the store is closed.

      • gary4205

        Most convenient stores DO NOT let you pay at the pump. You are forced to go inside….and thus….be exposed to the bevy of products for sale.

        Where on earth do they leave the pumps on after closing?

        That’s insane. And invites mischief and vandalism!

        BTW my dad owned a service station…before convenience stores and self service gas took over.

        We made 3 cents a gallon.

        The real money was made in the service bays.

      • KSegg

        lol how is that a myth. It’s a fact.


  • Vassilis

    In Greece it’s more like 70% tax and the rest anywhere else.

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