U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Frequently Asked Questions
What's up (and down) with gasoline prices?
EIA analysis of the petroleum market points to fluctuations in the price of crude oil as the main contributor to the large changes in gasoline prices the United States has experienced in recent years. Crude oil prices are greatly affected by levels of supply relative to actual and expected demand for the petroleum products made from crude oil.
Crude oil is a global commodity where oil prices are determined on the world market. Strong global demand growth for petroleum in the mid-2000s was a major factor in record high prices for crude oil and gasoline in mid-2008. Supply disruptions led to spikes in crude oil and gasoline prices. Major disruptions were caused by hurricanes and storms in supply regions, such as the Gulf of Mexico, political events in major oil producing countries, especially in the Middle East, and unplanned outages in U.S. refineries and pipelines.
Gasoline is often more expensive in the summer because more costly summer blends are supplied and demand is generally higher. U.S. refineries often conduct planned maintenance in the spring, which can lead to a drop in gasoline production and thereby make supplies more vulnerable if unplanned refinery outages occur. Supply disruptions as a result of unplanned refinery outages often result in increasing prices.
The U.S. economic recession and a rise in the use of more fuel efficient vehicles, which contributed to lower demand for gasoline, and increases in U.S. oil production helped to reduce upward pressure on oil and gasoline prices in the past several years.
Gasoline and oil prices are often topics in EIA's This Week In Petroleum and in Today in Energy. For EIA's latest gasoline price projections, see EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook and the Market Prices and Uncertainty Report.
What drives crude oil prices?
Factors Affecting Gasoline Prices
Weekly Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices
The Availability and Price of Petroleum and Petroleum Products Produced in Countries Other Than Iran
November 14, 2013
Other FAQs about Prices
- Are the prices that EIA publishes adjusted for inflation?
- Does EIA have city or county-level energy consumption and price data?
- Does EIA have energy prices for countries?
- Does EIA have ethanol price data?
- Does EIA have gasoline prices by city, county, or zip code?
- Does EIA have projections for energy production, consumption, and prices for individual states?
- Does EIA publish coking coal prices?
- Does EIA publish electric utility rate, tariff, and demand charge data?
- Does EIA publish off-road diesel fuel prices?
- How do I calculate diesel fuel surcharges?
- How do I compare heating fuels?
- How much does it cost to generate electricity with different types of power plants?
- How much does it cost to produce crude oil and natural gas?
- What was the highest U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline?
- What's up (and down) with gasoline prices?
- Where can I find inflation-adjusted gasoline prices?
- Where can I find out about energy-related grants or tax credits for my home or business?
- Where can I get help paying my utility bills?
- Who do I contact to complain about high energy prices?
- Why am I being charged more for propane than the price on EIA's website?
- Why are the retail pump prices for gasoline and diesel fuel in increments of 0.9 cents?
- Why don't fuel prices change as quickly as crude oil prices?
- Why has diesel fuel been more expensive than gasoline?
- Why is the United States exporting gasoline when prices are so high?
- How much tax do we pay on a gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel?
- What are the differences between various types of crude oil prices?
- What are the different coal prices published by EIA?
- What can I expect to pay for heating this winter?
- What do I pay for in a gallon of regular gasoline?
- What is the outlook for gasoline prices for 2013 and for 2014?
- What is the outlook for home heating fuel prices this winter?