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Chief Market Strategist
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  The Impact U.S. Refineries Have on Gas Prices
Posted Under: Sectors
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View from the Observation Deck

  1. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. is $3.79, according to GasBuddy.com. That is up from $3.48 a month ago.
  2. The following breaks down the cost components of a typical gallon of gasoline (Source: Energy Information Administration): Crude Oil (76%); Taxes (12%); Distribution/Marketing (6%); and Refining (6%).
  3. Due largely to environmental and regulatory demands, the number of refineries in the U.S. has decreased. The U.S. has not built a new one in three decades.
  4. As the chart shows, the number of operable refineries is currently 148, down from 159 in 1999. The U.S. had 302 in 1982, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
  5. This is why it has been said in recent years that pumping more oil is not the only answer to curbing gasoline prices, it is also a lack of refineries.
  6. The average utilization rate of said operable refineries was 86.2% in 2011, according to the EIA. The average was 92.6% in 1999.
  7. Despite higher crude oil prices, refineries are using less capacity lately because demand for gasoline in the U.S. is at a 15-year low, according to Businessweek.com.
  8. The question looking ahead is as follows: With economic activity accelerating, how high could gasoline prices rise if demand does spike?
Posted on Friday, March 16, 2012 @ 11:38 AM • Post Link Print this post Printer Friendly

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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