We've said it before, and we'll likely say it again: We love a good infographic (here, here, and here, for instance).

Today's example covers what makes up the price of each gallon of gasoline that you buy.

Not surprisingly, it includes the cost of the actual refined hydrocarbon that originated as dead dinosaurs (or other organic matter) deep below the surface of the earth and was located, extracted, transported, refined, transported again, and pumped into an underground tank before it sloshed into your car.

Crude oil makes up about two-thirds of the cost, and refining adds another 12 percent. Distribution and marketing adds a further 11 percent.

Then there are taxes, surprise, surprise. They average 11 percent although, as the graphic notes, they can vary significantly.

The Federal gas tax, which hasn't changed in the better part of two decades, is capped at less than 20 cents a gallon, and raising it is considered a non-starter in the current political environment despite support for doing so from a remarkable number of CEOs including, most recently, GM CEO Dan Akerson.

It goes toward building and maintaining Federally funded roads.Thus far, only a few legislators have dared to suggest that gas taxes go up with higher CAFE mileage standards.

Did we mention that the Federal gas tax now collects so little--as cars have gotten more fuel efficient over the years--that there's a roughly $60 billion backlog of repairs just to keep our existing roads in good repair?

State and local taxes on gasoline vary greatly, with adjacent states (New York and New Jersey, for example) often having disparate tax levels and skewing local purchases across the border from one into the other.

Click the graphic below to embiggen it for the full details.

Infographic: 'What's Driving Gas Prices' from One Block Off the Grid

Infographic: 'What's Driving Gas Prices' from One Block Off the Grid



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