This morning I filled up my gas tank and paid $3.19 a gallon. Being the anal person that I am, I keep track of how much gas I buy and how much it cost per gallon and per tank, etc. in this little notebook. My current notebook goes all the way back to Oct. 2002. In Oct. 2002, I was paying between $1.55 and $1.59 per gallon for gas. In less than 6 years, I’m now paying more than double for that same gallon of gas.
In 6 years, my salary hasn’t doubled, which probably explains why I can’t seem to make ends meet. I don’t live high on the hog. I’m not spending tons of money on junk. Even though I love video games and books, I limit my purchasing of both. Whenever possible, I purchase my video games used (and I use my little percent off card to save even more money). Books are more of a downfall to me, but I usually don’t purchase a book unless I’ve taken it out of the library and read it. I don’t willy nilly invest in books, as it is more of a collection I have than books just to have them.
So, when I pumped my gas today and put $50.00 plus dollars in there, I just cried a little tear. That was two used video games or one autographed book going to get me to work.
What a waste.
We’ve all heard tons of information on the rising cost of a barrel of oil and the rising cost of gas at the pumps. We’ve seen the oil companies post record profits and we’ve heard everyone say that the oil companies are screwing us.
I figured I’d get to the bottom of all of this. I want to know exactly why I paid $3.12 a gallon today when I filled up my tank. Afterall, the barrel price of $67.64 (as of 7/7/2006 — check the www.eia.doe.gov for more information) won’t be refined and in my tank for at least 3 months and maybe even 6 months. So, why am I paying such a high rate now?
The answer is — I don’t know. I think I almost have this all figured out, but I cannot find one place that will tell me exactly how much it costs to refine the barrel of oil (42 gallons) into the 20 gallons of gasoline. (I’ve seen different numbers for how many gallons of gas come out of a barrel of oil. One website stated that 55% of a barrel of oil becomes gasoline.)
I’m going to keep digging, but if anyone knows how much it costs to refine one barrel of oil — and remember, other products come out of that oil, so it isn’t all about gas — please pass it on to me. Otherwise, I might be researching this forever!