The breakdown on rising gas prices

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Gas always costs more in the summer months because of two reasons: More demand and cars take fancy gas.

Here's what's happening. Californians enjoy the environmentally conscious summer blend of gas and it costs more to make. 

"When supply and demand get out of balance you can't just bring in more gas from Nevada or Arizona," said Michael Noel, an economic professor from Texas Tech University who is teaching summer classes at UCSD.

He says California is unique. What's good for the environment is not necessarily good for the wallet.

So where does all the money go?

Here's the breakdown, using the U.S. Energy Information Administration Formula, based on gas costing roughly $4 a gallon.

Starting from the top, 17 percent goes to federal, state and local taxes. California has one of the highest fuel taxes in the country.

Nine percent goes to distribution and marketing, the trucks delivering to the gas stations and the promotion. 

"The guys who own the gas stations, some people think they make a lot, they do not make a lot. When the price goes up, it hurts them because they sell less," Noel said.

About 23 percent goes to the refineries and economists say the margins for the refineries are higher in California.

"Remember margins are not profits, they're profits and costs because you have to make that boutique fuel from the same crude oil it costs more to do it," Noel said.

About 51 percent goes to pay for that crude oil which fluctuates quite a bit Noel said.

But this oil and gas expert said things will eventually get better in about a month once the imported fuel arrives.

"The spike you are looking at here, don't know exactly where it's going stop, another 5, 10 or 15 cents once we reach the peak it does come back down a little bit," Noel said.

According to Noel, here are some tips to save until those prices go back down.

-Fill your tires with air and slow down. This gets you better gas mileage with properly inflated tires and by not stepping on the gas and the brake while cruising down the highway.

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