Cisco. You are down to $3.33 consider yourself lucky. Here in the Adirondacks of NY(Lake Placid, Saranac Lake area) we dropped a whole .10 from $3.87 to $3.77, WHOOPEE! We seem to get screwed here more than most places. I drove through Watertown Ny recectly and they were .20 per gallon less and they are only 100 miles away. Same goes if you go to the Albany area, way less than we pay. I think all the players, oil companies, refineries, wholesalers and retailers are screwing us any and everyway possible at all times. if you notice the world markets whenever oil goes up a dollar or so a barrell our gas prices rise the next day at the pump. But when the price of oil drops by over 10% like it has in the last month or so our pump prices remain steady or maybe drop a few cents a week or more after the world price drops. All that said we still have relatively cheap gas prices compared to Europe or even Canada for that matter.
Unfortunately for the Adirondacks the lack of competition, distance from refineries, low turnover of the gas at the station and NYS % increase component of the gas tax means higher gas prices. The local retailers do not make much from gas but they do delay the drop in prices. That is just how it goes.
European gas taxes developed after WW2 when there were shortages of oil. When oil became available the taxes remained. No suprise here. The tax can be 70-80% of the price. The compressed distances and the great rail coverage (paid by the gas tax) are huge differences when compared to the US. Canadians are basically getting hosed on taxes as they have huge supplies. I think the Federal portion of the Canadian tax goes into the General Fund.
There is no direct link to the price of a barrel of crude to the price of gas at the pump. The justification your looking for does not exist. A better comparison would be RBOB(unleaded gas) which like crude is traded in the NYMEX Futures market. This market is a mix of trading speculation, supply and demand, refinery issues and other things. It's not black and white like your wanting it to be.
The refinery thing can be a big factor in that when a barrel of crude hits the refinery it can be made into gasoline, kerosene, heating oil depending on the season and demand. The price at the pump is more dependent on the price the refinery is charging the gas station than the price of a barrel of crude.
A similar situation that we all have is with milk prices at the store. The price at the store is more dependent on the price it pays the milk processor than the price paid to the farmer. Even tho farmers are paid about the same they got 20 years ago, the price we pay at the store is way more than it was 20 years ago.
I forgot where I read this, but the cost of crude oil is 25% of the price of gas at the pump. So I guess if crude goes down 10%, the price at the pump goes down 2.5%. I do know someone who runs a gas station that's owned by an oil distributor. I assume they pay rent. They use the station for their retail food business -pizza, calzones,subs, beer,soda,sanwiches, ect. as well as the usual products you find inside. They aslo own a restaurant/bar that's only about 10 miles away. Nice way to get your businesses complimenting each other. Anyway, they get paid 5 cents a gallon to take care of the gas part of it. The oil distibutor gets the rest, whatever that may be? As others have said, the local retailers don't make much on gas, it's the big guns as usual. Big oil throws out lots of money to our Democrat @ Republican polititons in Washingtom. Basically they own them - you know, pay to play. Also, the oil companies get nice tax breaks, subsidy's, ect. that we pay for in one way or another. Here's what I do -take turns driving and leave home with a low tank and buy my gas in Vermont where it's about 20 cents cheaper.