Find Out Where Your Money Goes When You Buy Gas

Want to know where your fifties go when you fill up your car with gas? GOOD’s latest chart breaks down the assorted costs, and compares them with other places around the globe. You can grab a free printed copy at any Starbucks, or go here to check it out in bright RGB goodness.

Note: if you can’t view the GOOD site, click here for the full graphic.

“Gas Prices” is issue #4 in the free “GOOD Sheets” series from GOOD and Starbucks. Each issue focuses on one topic, and unfolds from a square about the size of a CD case into a large graphic that explores the topic in stats, pics, and captions.

This week’s topic is the price of gas, while last week’s was immigration. Tomorrow a new one hits the stores on “The State of America’s Schools.”

“Getting Gas” [GOOD]


Edit Your Comment

  1. azntg says:

    Dam expensive gas! Take that Netherlands!

  2. So on average, all the oil companies make a 12% profit. I wish they would have said that so I didn’t have to break out the calculator. Considering a good investment account earns 8%, it’s not that far from the profit windfall they say the oil comapnies get. Of course, 12% is an average, so some make less.

  3. Siegeman says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if they made $155 billion on $1.9 trillion in revenue, doesn’t that mean they had $1.745 trillion in expenses? Yikes! That’s enough for 1.5 bailout plans!

  4. ryan89 says:

    That’s a new one. I can’t view the site with IE6. My work won’t let me install IE7 on this machine so I guess I won’t find out where my dollar goes.

    “IE 6, as it is known, is like quicksand for front-end developers: The more they struggle against it, the deeper they sink.
    We suggest you update to Internet Explorer 7. You’ll be able to visit immediately.”

  5. Counterpoint says:

    So oil companies made $158B in profits, but the governments (fed & state) made $228B for doing absolutely nothing but levying taxes? Somehow that seems messed up.

    (Someone can check my math, but $1.9T * .12 = $228B)

    • Red_Flag says:

      @Counterpoint: If the gov’t filled the treasury by doing anything but levying taxes, wouldn’t that be a corporation, not a government?

      • Toof_75_75 says:

        If the government stopped wasting so much money, they wouldn’t need to try so hard to fill it…and I could have more of my paycheck bi-monthly.

      • Counterpoint says:

        @Red_Flag: The point was that the government does absolutely nothing to help create this product, yet makes more profit than the actual oil companies. Taxes are one thing, but being 144% of the actual businesses profits are ridiculous.

        • dweebster says:

          @Counterpoint: Ahem, the government does a whole LOT to help “create” this product. A certain couple government shysters have a clever saying: “drill, baby, drill” – perhaps you’ve heard it? The “government” (we the people) own the land that these companies are given access to.

          The government doesn’t make a “profit” – what you are labeling “profit” doesn’t even come CLOSE to supporting the road and other infrastructure, bureaucracy, cleanup costs and other factors “we the people” have to do to mitigate the effects of gasoline extraction and utilization.

          • Counterpoint says:

            @dweebster: And the oil companies have to lease that land in order to drill there. Those costs are above and beyond the taxes that are taken off of the sales of gasoline at the pump, which is where the 12% figure comes in.

            And that is a huge profit. As mentioned above, even at $1M/mile with 48k miles, there is $180B left over as government profit.

            Besides, why should gasoline sales pay for roads? Roads are made because people want them, not because oil companies demand them. And if you’re going to tax oil companies to pay for roads, you better start taxing bicycle companies, auto makers, and running shoe sales for the upkeep as well.

            • Vulcaex says:

              @Counterpoint: “And if you’re going to tax oil companies to pay for roads, you better start taxing bicycle companies, auto makers, and running shoe sales for the upkeep as well.”

              One point that everyone seems to be missing is that the oil companies don’t pay any taxes. At the pump you pay the taxes. You pay for the roads.

              At the corporate level the investors, employees, and customers pay the taxes in the form of lower dividends, reduced compensation, and higher prices respectively.

        • oneandone says:

          @Counterpoint: The government runs the US Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, whose data petrochemical (& other) companies rely on to know where and when to drill, mine, etc. They supplement it with their own research, but the essential foundation of the mapping is govt funded.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @Red_Flag: considering your moniker, i find this revelation to be quite facetious.

    • @Counterpoint:

      It makes you wonder about the windfall profits tax that Obama wants to levy on oil comapnies. After this article, such a tactic no longer makes sense.

    • ShortBus says:

      @Counterpoint: What do you think pays for all those roads your gasoline enables you to traverse? They cost about $1M per mile and there are 48,000 miles of interstate highway in the US. That’s not including local roads, road signs, the salaries of the police who patrol those roads, etc.

      • Counterpoint says:

        @ShortBus: Actually, a lot of gas taxes are paying for mass transit, ethanol, and many other “killers” of the product the tax is coming from. Besides, at $1M/mile, there’s still $180B left over just from gas taxes alone (not counting auto taxes, etc).

        • dweebster says:

          @Counterpoint: I’ve seen at least a COUPLE mass transit vehicles running on such a substance or one very similar…

          If they have $180B left over I’m sure there’s a worthy old bridge or Superfund site in need somewhere that could use it…

    • ndonahue says:

      @Counterpoint: @Counterpoint:

      Let’s not forget that the oil reserves are controlled by the governments as a shared asset to be managed on behalf of the citizens. They’re taking a big cut because they own the mineral rights but would prefer to “outsource” the exploration and production.

  6. Craysh says:

    They forgot to mention the huge amount of money that’s sunk into cafe standards. Every damn county in California has different gas standards (most of which conflict)

  7. Really interesting stuff, and by the way, this GOOD sheet thing? I think I like it! Educated Americans ho!

  8. ckaught78 says:

    I hate to tell you, but most oil companies are not making their billions on gas sales. In fact, most of them currently loose money in those sectors. What this article fails to show you is what the oil companies are doing with that 72%.

    People baulk at the price of a gallon of gas, a substance derived from a natural resource that is becoming increasingly more difficult to locate and extract, but $4 for a gallon of orange fruit drink, a substance that amounts to little more than sugar and water, well that’s ok.

    • mike says:

      @ckaught78: While I agree that most oil companies don’t make money in actual gas sales, I don’t agree that paying $4 for organge juice is the same as paying $4 for gas.

      That’s like comparing the cost of college to buying a pair of shoes. Per year, shoes will cost more than college. (Made that up!)

      The hard part is that it’s next to impossible to control the commodities market. You can play and fudge the numbers a bit, but in the end its still supply/demand. Since demand has come down, the price has fallen as well. Unfortunately, the gods that be in OPEC said, “You know, we need more money. Let’s decrease the output of oil.” And thus, supply falls and we restart the whole process.

      • ckaught78 says:

        @mike: Mike, I don’t like paying $4 for gas any more than anyone else, but for years it has been underpriced. Considering everything that is involved in producing it, we should be ahppy it doesn’t cost more.

  9. SKURRY says:

    20% in taxes here in Chicago.

  10. bricko says:

    So. according to this…those evil companies made an astounding 8% profit.

    Wow, how much will Wexler want for his Obscene profits.

    Has anyone in congress told us about where my profits become obscene. Most media companies operate in the 20% etc. So will he be jumping on the NYT or the LAT etc.

    But since both are Left Democrat info sheets….Im guessing not.

  11. So I suppose we’ll see some sort of counterpoint to this fact sheet, in the interest of some semblance of objectivity? Or is the implication that a transparently leftist (cf. the huge emphasis on profit number and the silly $/sec profit rate, without any context) pamphlet produced by a group “with a focus on social issues, politics and sustainable living” presents the full story on oil companies and gas prices? Or is this just an advertorial for GOOD?

    C’mon, guys.

    Also: does anyone else think it’s ironic that people are reading this implicit criticism of US gas prices, policy, and oil companies while they’re willing to part with $4 for a cup of coffee?

  12. Avrus says:

    Of course there’s no profit in gas. How can you have profit in gas when there’s a 43 – 48% profit margin in exploration, drilling, frac fluids, refining and exporting?

    There’s enormous profits at each stage of the process so that by the time it gets to retail gasoline, every gallon of profit has been squeezed out.

    Oil companies can cry about gas profit all they want, but if you look at their financial statements you’ll see they are more profitable than any other market. (This includes celullar / telecommunications).