By Angela Colley
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — According to AAA, is costing less, barring fluctuations by state. In California, the average was $4.26 last week, while in Bismark, N.D., it was $3.49. Still, doesn’t it seem like prices should be lower? After all, U.S. oil production is up, while “net oil imports have dropped a third since 2005,” USA Today reports.
This year Consumer Energy Report added up the cost of the various ingredients that go into gas prices. Here’s what it looks like:
- Distribution and marketing: 6%
- Refining: 6% Taxes: 12%
- Crude oil: 76%
So crude oil is most of the cost, and oil is traded on a global market. So even though Americans are finding more and using less, developing countries such as China and India are taking up the slack and keeping the pressure on prices. And tensions in oil-producing countries such as Iran also cause prices to spike, because investors fear an interruption in supplies should fighting break out.
While we can’t control oil prices around the globe, we can stretch our gas dollars here at home. Here are a few obvious – and not so obvious – ways to conserve and save:
1. Take public transportation
Obviously, this works better in big cities. I live in New Orleans, and save hundreds each year taking the bus. One bus ride costs $1.25 and takes me all the way across town. If I took my 16-miles-to-the-gallon clunker, I’d use two gallons of gas – around $6.60 at recent prices. That’s a savings of $5.35 each way.