What do you pay for per gallon of gas at the pump? News 3 Investigates factors impacting gas prices

gas prices
Posted at 9:05 PM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 23:22:01-05

NORFOLK, Va. - It's all over Hampton Roads and across the country. Rising gas prices.

For Dallas Copley, he wishes something could resolve the prices at the pump.

“Is it ever going to stop,” Copley said.

News 3 talked with Copley as he filled up at a Norfolk gas station just before sunset Tuesday.

“I literally just went broke because of it,” Copley said. “I hope I can make it until pay day.”

Across town, Marcy Woolard is also dealing with prices like $4.29 a gallon and impacts from inflation.

“I don’t know how we’re supposed to sustain this,” Woolard said. “It’s making it hard to get what you want to get at the store because that’s rising too. I was considering doing some DoorDash driving, but it would be just driving to pay for more gas.”

The prices come as President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday a ban on Russian oil imports due to the war in Ukraine.

“The American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin’s war machine,” Biden said. “This is a step that we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin. But, there will be costs as well here in the United States.”

Woolard weighed in on President Biden’s announcement.

“I think it’s a good thing, my God,” she said. “We need to be doing more. It’s heartbreaking.”

According to the International Energy Agency, Russia ranks as the third largest oil producer worldwide behind the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The group added it’s also the world's largest exporter of oil to global markets, and the second largest crude oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia.

“Banning Russian imports of oil and other petroleum products into the United States is going to costs consumers here in Hampton Roads pennies at the pump,” Old Dominion University Economics Professor Bob McNab told News 3. “While the ban of Russian oil imports is not going to be the cause of increased prices, it’s going to contribute to global prices increases, and that’s more pain at the pump.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said there are four main components with the retail price of gasoline: the cost of crude oil, refining costs and profits, distribution and marketing costs and profits, and taxes.

So, what do we pay for per gallon of retail regular grade gas?

According to the EIA, when looking at the average retail price in 2020 of $2.17 per gallon, 43 percent of that price was crude oil. Meanwhile, 22 percent was federal and state taxes, 25 percent refining costs and profits, and 10 percent related to distribution and marketing.

For McNab, he believes it will take time to unwind the energy shock from global markets.

“For the average consumer in Hampton Roads, you really need to be thinking ahead. Is that car trip necessary? Can I carpool? Can I find a job where I can work at home some days a week,” McNab said.

As for Woolard, she said she'll do what she has to do.

“Get an extra job, try to get a better job,” Woolard said. “Rent prices are going up. My rent just got raised $90 a month. It ain’t easy.”

McNab told News 3 he believes one action that can be taken in Virginia and at the federal level is to temporarily suspend the gas tax on gasoline and diesel. He said it's a short-term measure that can help alleviate high bills at the pump.

Related: Looking for the cheapest gas in Virginia? Here's where to find it as prices soar