Comptroller of Maryland. Serving the People. Peter Franchot, Comptroller
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Fighting High Gas Prices

Comptroller Franchot's Consumer Tips

Here are some tips for consumers facing high gasoline prices this summer.

  1. Looking for cheap gas in your neighborhood? Check out one of the sites below to compare local gas prices.
    MapQuest Gas Prices
    GasBuddy.com
    AAA Fuel Finder
  2. Looking for ways to conserve gas? Take public transportation, join a carpool and use hiker and biker trails whenever possible.
  3. Need help pumping gas? Visit the link below to find a local gas station that offers assistance to consumers with disabilities.
    Maryland Department of Transportation Access to Gas Pumps
  4. Think you purchased bad fuel? Tell us.
    Field inspectors for the Comptroller of Maryland are responsible for monitoring the transportation and storage of motor fuel, and verifying that retail locations are complying with regulations governing pricing, labeling and registration. Inspectors collect fuel samples and they are tested at the Motor Fuel Testing Laboratory in Jessup to ensure quality standards including octane levels. Any sub-standard or inaccurately labeled product is removed from the marketplace until the problem is corrected. Email fed@comp.state.md.us to report fuel price disparities or fuel problems.
  5. Feel a particular gas pump may not be giving you all the gas you are paying for? Report it to the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
    While the Comptroller's Office inspects fuel, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) is charged with making sure gas pumps and meters are accurate. If you think the amount of fuel you received falls short of the amount you purchased, contact the MDA's Weights and Measures Division at 410-841-5790.
  6. Need to report a fuel spill or leak? Contact the Maryland Department of the Environment's Oil Control Program at 410-537-3442.
An Overview of Gasoline Prices

Below is an overview of what makes up the retail price of a gallon of gasoline and what factors affect this price.

  1. What makes up the retail price of a gallon of gasoline?

    Cost of crude oil
    73% of the cost of a gallon of gasoline directly reflects the cost that refiners pay to obtain the crude oil.

    Refining costs and profits
    10% of the cost of a gallon of gasoline reflects the costs to refine the crude oil making it useful to consumers.

    Federal and state taxes
    11% of the cost of a gallon of gasoline is made up of federal and state taxes, but does not include county or local taxes.

    Distribution and marketing
    6% of the cost of a gallon of gasoline is made up of distribution, marketing and retail dealer costs. Most gasoline is shipped by pipeline to consuming areas and then loaded into trucks for delivery at individual gas stations. The price reflects the retailer's purchase cost and operating costs associated with the service station. Additionally, the price can reflect the desirability of the station's location or the station owner's marketing strategies.

    The break down of the cost of a gallon of gasoline above is based on the April 2008 average retail price of $3.46/gallon.

  2. Why do gasoline prices fluctuate?
    Gasoline prices can fluctuate for a variety of reasons including a change in seasons, natural disasters, local retail station competition, disruptions in the crude oil supply triggered by world events and/or refinery or pipeline outages.

Source: The statistics above are based on information on the Energy Information Administration's web site.



 
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