Motorists confused by variety of rising gas prices

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on March 14, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 15 at 4:47 PM

Oil prices may be falling right now, but gas prices continue to skyrocket.

Americans are paying $3.55 a gallon for unleaded on average; that's up 43 cents in one month.

Dallas drivers are averaging $3.46 while Fort Worth motorists pay a penny less.

But News 8 found a discrepancy of as much as 40 cents per gallon in local prices.

"It's heartbreaking, man," said motorist Lawrence Veracruz. "It's hard on the working man. I'm ready to get a moped."

Everywhere you look, the prices are different. On Monday, one Duncanville gas station was charging $3.79 a gallon and nearly $4 for high octane fuel.

Operators of the store tried to block News 8 from taking pictures of their price sign.

Why are their prices so much higher than the competition? "That's for you to find out," a representative of the station suggested.

So we did.

Here's how it breaks down:

  • 61 percent of the price of gas is the cost of the crude oil
  • 15 percent goes to refining it
  • 10 percent is the price tag for distribution and marketing
  • 14 percent is subtracted for state and federal taxes.

Gas station owners set their profits while trying to stay competitive.

"Some people are a little more greedy; they want to make a profit, that's all," said Eddie Atalla, who owns a Texaco station in Mesquite, where a gallon of regular was going for $3.39 on Monday.

Atalla said gas stations that sell food, beer and drinks can make their profits in other ways and not charge as much for their gas.

"I have repair shop," Atalla said. "Some other people, all they have is a snack and gas. If he wants to make a profit to cover his bills, they go at least 25 cents on the gallon."

Atalla said he'll often take a loss on gasoline if a neighboring station is selling for less.

But all that number-crunching does little for drivers like Lawrence Veracruz, who is now spending $75 to fill up his gas-guzzling truck. "It's a hard pill to swallow, but you got to keep moving," he said.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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