Gasoline Price Breakdown - This page details the estimated gross margins for both refiners and distributors. The term "margin" includes both costs and profits. The margin data is based on the statewide average retail and wholesale price of gasoline for a single day of the week. It is not a seven-day average. The margin provided here is an indicator for the California market as a whole and not for any particular refiner or retailer of gasoline.

The Energy Commission cannot estimate profit margins based on average retail prices and observed wholesale market prices. This is because detailed data on refining and distribution costs, costs paid by approximately 10,000 retail locations, hundreds of wholesale marketers, jobbers, and distributors is not available.

The following provides specific information on how the data in the tables are calculated.

Refiner Margin - Refiner Margin (costs and profits) is calculated by subtracting the market price for crude oil from the wholesale price of gasoline. The result is a gross refining margin which includes the cost of operating the refinery as well as the profits for the refining company.

The price of crude oil is based on the daily market price for crude oil from the Alaska North Slope published in the Wall Street Journal©. The market price of crude oil also includes its own share of costs and profits. In the case of a vertically integrated oil company, the same company that owns and operates the oil field also owns and operates the refinery. Several vertically integrated oil companies operate in California including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell.

For simplicity, the refining margins shown are based on producing one barrel of gasoline from one barrel of crude oil. No adjustments are made for other refined products.

Distribution Margin - Distribution margin (distribution costs, marketing costs, and profits) is calculated by subtracting the wholesale gasoline price (either branded or unbranded) and taxes (state sales tax, state excise tax, federal excise tax, and a state underground storage tank fee) from the weekly average retail sales price. The branded wholesale gasoline price is based on the average statewide branded refined "rack" price, information obtained from the Oil Price Information Service (www.opisnet.com). The rack price is the price paid at the point where tanker trucks load their fuel from a distribution terminal's loading rack. The unbranded price is also based on OPIS pricing information.

The distribution margin can be either positive or negative in value. A negative distribution margin implies that some gasoline is being sold at a loss. Similar to the refining margin, the distribution margin also includes the costs and profits of operating the retail gas station as well as various transportation and storage fees incurred once gasoline is moved from the bulk terminal to the retailer. Most branded franchisees purchase gasoline at a delivered price called the Dealer Tank Wagon price that is typically higher than the branded rack price. A retail-specific margin is not available at this time.

Table Definitions



Apr 27

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.770$0.910
Crude Oil Costs$0.210$0.210
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.930$0.790
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.058$0.058
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$2.650$2.650

Apr 20

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.920$1.080
Crude Oil Costs-$0.060-$0.060
Refinery Cost and Profit$1.110$0.950
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.059$0.059
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$2.700$2.700

Apr 13

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$1.070$1.310
Crude Oil Costs$0.530$0,530
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.410$0.170
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.061$0.061
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$2.750$2.750

Apr 06

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$1.060$1.330
Crude Oil Costs$0.670$0.670
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.400$0.140
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.063$0.063
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$2.870$2.870

Mar 30

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$1.080$1.400
Crude Oil Costs$0.560$0.560
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.570$0.260
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.065$0.065
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$2.950$2.950

Mar 23

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$1.120$1.330
Crude Oil Costs$0.620$0.620
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.590$0.380
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.067$0.067
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.070$3.070

Mar 16

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.880$0.940
Crude Oil Costs$0.700$0.700
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.900$0.840
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.071$0.071
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.220$3.220

Mar 09

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.650$0.740
Crude Oil Costs$0.820$0.820
Refinery Cost and Profit$1.110$1.020
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.073$0.073
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.330$3.330

Mar 02

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.470$0.540
Crude Oil Costs$1.210$1.210
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.930$0.850
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.074$0.074
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.350$3.350

Feb 24

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.380$0.440
Crude Oil Costs$1.300$1.300
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.930$0.860
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.074$0.074
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.360$3.360

Feb 17

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.380$0.410
Crude Oil Costs$1.330$1.330
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.900$0.870
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.074$0.074
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.360$3.360

Feb 10

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.440$0.480
Crude Oil Costs$1.250$1.250
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.920$0.880
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.074$0.074
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.370$3.370

Feb 03

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.350$0.420
Crude Oil Costs$1.330$1.330
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.940$0.870
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.074$0.074
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.370$3.370

Jan 27

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.350$0.420
Crude Oil Costs$1.450$1.450
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.840$0.770
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.075$0.075
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.390$3.390

Jan 20

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.390$0.450
Crude Oil Costs$1.590$1.590
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.680$0.620
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.075$0.075
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.410$3.410

Jan 13

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.410$0.460
Crude Oil Costs$1.580$1.580
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.670$0.630
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.075$0.075
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.420$3.420

Jan 06

 BrandedUnbranded
Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits$0.440$0.510
Crude Oil Costs$1.680$1.680
Refinery Cost and Profit$0.560$0.490
State Underground Storage Tank Fee$0.020$0.020
State and Local Tax$0.075$0.075
State Excise Tax$0.473$0.473
Federal Excise Tax$0.184$0.184
Retail Prices$3.430$3.430

Definitions

Wholesale Gasoline Price: The average wholesale gasoline price is the average of 13 unbranded and 13 branded wholesale prices at various wholesale fuel loading racks around the state. This average price is for a single day. The wholesale gasoline price is calculated for the same day as EIA's weekly average gasoline price.

Branded and Unbranded Gasoline: Branded gasoline refers to fuel that is sold under a brand name (such as BP, Shell, Exxon, Chevron, and Valero). Branded gasoline will include proprietary fuel additives. Unbranded gasoline is not associated with a specific brand name, and is typically sold by single-station retail outlets, relatively small chain retailers that specialize is gasoline sales, and large supermarket chain stores (such as Costco and Safeway).

Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs, and Profits: The costs associated with the distribution from terminals to stations and retailing of gasoline, including but not limited to: franchise fees, and/or rents, wages, utilities, supplies, equipment maintenance, environmental fees, licenses, permitting fees, credit card fees, insurance, depreciation, advertising, and profit.

Crude Oil Cost: The daily market price of Alaska North Slope crude oil which is used as a proxy for this composite crude oil acquisition cost for California refineries.

Refinery Costs and Profits: The costs associated with refining and terminal operations, crude oil processing, oxygenate additives, product shipment and storage, oil spill fees, depreciation, purchases of gasoline to cover refinery shortages, brand advertising, and profits.

State Underground Storage Tank Fee: The state underground storage tank fee is currently 2.0 cents per gallon.

State and Local Sales Tax: An average state sales tax rate of 2.25% percent is used in the calculation of the distribution margin although the actual sales tax rate does vary throughout California.

State Excise Tax: The California state excise tax is currently 47.3 cents per gallon.

Federal Excise Tax: The federal excise tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon.

Retail Gasoline Price: The weekly average price for California from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_home_page.html).