The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Pump Price Update

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 8, 2010

The record cold weather has helped to push up crude oil prices this week. When the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) closed yesterday, the price of oil stood at $82.66 a barrel. Because there are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil, this is equal to $1.97 per gallon.

Figures compiled by API using AAA data show that gasoline prices have risen about 14.1 cents a gallon since Dec. 22, while crude oil prices have climbed about 31 cents a gallon since December 14. As the graph below illustrates, pump prices tend to follow crude oil prices.


The price of crude oil is the largest determinant in the pump price of gasoline. Federal, state and local taxes, marketing and distribution costs, as well as local market conditions also have a role in retail prices. Historically, the difference between the crude price and the retail gasoline price has been about 97 cents a gallon over the past 10 years. Half of this difference is taxes.

AAA reports the average price of unleaded-regular gasoline was $2.725 yesterday, which was the highest price since October 2008. That's still significantly below the all-time high price, which was set in July 2008 at $4.11 a gallon.


Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.