Gasoline Margins

Estimated 2017 Gasoline Price Breakdown & Margins Details

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, ConocoPhillips, 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



  Branded    Unbranded
    Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits Crude Oil Costs Refinery Cost and Profit State Underground Storage Tank Fee State and Local Tax State Excise Tax Federal Excise Tax Retail Price   Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits Crude Oil Costs Refinery Cost and Profit State Underground Storage Tank Fee State and Local Tax State Excise Tax Federal Excise Tax Retail Price
Jul 31   $0.400 $1.250 $0.770 $0.020 $0.066 $0.297 $0.184 $2.980   $0.480 $1.250 $0.680 $0.020 $0.066 $0.297 $0.184 $2.980
Jul 24   $0.440 $1.170 $0.770 $0.020 $0.065 $0.297 $0.184 $2.940   $0.540 $1.170 $0.670 $0.020 $0.065 $0.297 $0.184 $2.940
Jul 17   $0.480 $1.160 $0.730 $0.020 $0.065 $0.297 $0.184 $2.930   $0.590 $1.160 $0.620 $0.020 $0.065 $0.297 $0.184 $2.930
Jul 10   $0.470 $1.120 $0.800 $0.020 $0.065 $0.297 $0.184 $2.950   $0.590 $1.120 $0.680 $0.020 $0.065 $0.297 $0.184 $2.950
Jul 03   $0.480 $1.150 $0.750 $0.020 $0.065 $0.297 $0.184 $2.950   $0.580 $1.150 $0.640 $0.020 $0.065 $0.297 $0.184 $2.950
Jun 26   $0.560 $1.090 $0.750 $0.020 $0.065 $0.278 $0.184 $2.950   $0.690 $1.090 $0.620 $0.020 $0.065 $0.278 $0.184 $2.950
Jun 19   $0.560 $1.110 $0.780 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.000   $0.720 $1.110 $0.620 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.000
Jun 12   $0.550 $1.150 $0.790 $0.020 $0.067 $0.278 $0.184 $3.040   $0.730 $1.150 $0.610 $0.020 $0.067 $0.278 $0.184 $3.040
Jun 05   $0.530 $1.180 $0.850 $0.020 $0.068 $0.278 $0.184 $3.100   $0.690 $1.180 $0.690 $0.020 $0.068 $0.278 $0.184 $3.100
May 29   $0.420 $1.240 $0.920 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.130   $0.530 $1.240 $0.810 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.130
May 22   $0.340 $1.270 $0.930 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.090   $0.390 $1.270 $0.890 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.090
May 15   $0.380 $1.220 $0.860 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.010   $0.440 $1.220 $0.800 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.010
May 08   $0.480 $1.160 $0.800 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $2.990   $0.640 $1.160 $0.640 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $2.990
May 01   $0.490 $1.210 $0.750 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.000   $0.690 $1.210 $0.560 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.000
Apr 24   $0.437 $1.219 $0.813 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.017   $0.589 $1.219 $0.661 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.017
Apr 17   $0.368 $1.316 $0.785 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.017   $0.459 $1.316 $0.694 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.0107
Apr 10   $0.390 $1.330 $0.740 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.008   $0.494 $1.330 $0.636 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.008
Apr 03   $0.401 $1.247 $0.796 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $2.992   $0.516 $1.247 $0.681 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $2.992
Mar 27   $0.467 $1.188 $0.795 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $2.998   $0.588 $1.188 $0.674 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $2.998
Mar 20   $0.485 $1.216 $0.752 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.001   $0.613 $1.216 $0.624 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.001
Mar 13   $0.447 $1.207 $0.803 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.005   $0.604 $1.207 $0.646 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.005
Mar 06   $0.374 $1.304 $0.774 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.000   $0.489 $1.304 $0.659 $0.020 $0.066 $0.278 $0.184 $3.000
Feb 27   $0.309 $1.328 $0.772 $0.020 $0.065 $0.278 $0.184 $2.956   $0.417 $1.328 $0.664 $0.020 $0.065 $0.278 $0.184 $2.956
Feb 20   $0.380 $1.310 $0.662 $0.020 $0.064 $0.278 $0.184 $2.898   $0.519 $1.310 $0.523 $0.020 $0.064 $0.278 $0.184 $2.898
Feb 13   $0.315 $1.292 $0.722 $0.020 $0.063 $0.278 $0.184 $2.874   $0.434 $1.292 $0.603 $0.020 $0.063 $0.278 $0.184 $2.874
Feb 06   $0.364 $1.304 $0.613 $0.020 $0.062 $0.278 $0.184 $2.825   $0.470 $1.304 $0.507 $0.020 $0.062 $0.278 $0.184 $2.825
Jan 30   $0.384 $1.289 $0.575 $0.020 $0.061 $0.278 $0.184 $2.791   $0.514 $1.289 $0.445 $0.020 $0.061 $0.278 $0.184 $2.791
Jan 23   $0.428 $1.295 $0.517 $0.020 $0.061 $0.278 $0.184 $2.783   $0.562 $1.295 $1.383 $0.020 $0.061 $0.278 $0.184 $2.783
Jan 16   $0.399 $1.280 $0.572 $0.020 $0.061 $0.278 $0.184 $2.794   $0.516 $1.280 $0.455 $0.020 $0.061 $0.278 $0.184 $2.794
Jan 09   $0.338 $1.258 $0.664 $0.020 $0.062 $0.278 $0.184 $2.804   $0.377 $1.258 $0.625 $0.020 $0.062 $0.278 $0.184 $2.804

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 29.7 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).