Gasoline, Oil Prices Peak Around the Nation

The Energy Department releases its latest survey of gasoline prices Monday afternoon. The costs of gasoline and crude oil have set records in the past few weeks. Even if oil prices decline, drivers may not see an immediate savings.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


The Energy Department today releases its latest survey of gasoline prices. Last week, gas prices were already hitting record highs, and the price of crude oil used to make gas just keeps climbing.

NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

SCOTT HORSLEY: AAA has been predicting that the average gas price across the country will hit $3.50 a gallon sometime before the Memorial Day weekend. Pump prices were already nearing that figure at the end of last week. Most of the price, more than two and a half dollars a gallon, goes for crude oil, which topped $116 a barrel last week. Taxes add another $.45 cents or so. And the refiner, who converts the crude oil into gasoline, gets only about a quarter.

AAA's Jeff Sundstrom says that breakdown suggests refiners profits have been getting squeezed by the sky-high costs of oil, which they aren't able to fully recover at the gas pump.

Mr. JEFF SUNDSTROM (AAA): It really is telling us that at this very high price for crude oil, the industry is actually not passing on as much of the cost as they might otherwise be doing. And once the economy starts to rebound, unfortunately, it could get another kick in the head from gas prices that are even higher than what we're paying now.

HORSLEY: So far this year, Americans have been driving a little less, and that's kept gas prices from climbing even higher. If oil prices do fall back from their current peaks, though, the savings may flow to refiners rather than showing up as lower prices at the gas pump.

Scott Horsley, NPR News.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.