Two of the biggest reasons for high fuel prices are taxes and consumer behavior. http://www.api.org/Oil-and-Natural-Gas- ... x-Map.ashx
That link will show you the tax rate for each state. Pennsylvania for example has a 50.7 tax rate. That means that for every gallon that you pump, $.507 cents goes to local, state, and federal government departments. The gas that I paid for yesterday at $3.95 would be $3.44 without government taxation. Why does that still seem high? Because there are more taxes behind the scene. The truck that transports this has to pay the same taxes on the fuel that it fills up with, and the cost of fuel is added to the line haul, or sometimes paid as a fuel surcharge. The driver has to pay his bills as well, and pay his income taxes. Then you get to the refinery where they have to pay a tax on all the income that they make producing the oil, the cost to pay the workers, part of their tax liability, and then the fees and costs associated with running the refinery like utility and legal fees. It all adds up.
Then you get to diesel taxes which are much more complex. It works the same way for passenger vehicles using diesel as the vehicles using gasoline. When diesel is used in a tractor trailer, it becomes much more complex.
This page will show the tax rates at cents per gallon for diesel. http://www.api.org/Oil-and-Natural-Gas- ... x-Map.ashx
They are much higher. When you drive a tractor trailer you have to pay for IFTA (international fuel tax agreement) registration. Once registered, you have to keep track of your average mile per gallon fuel efficiency, the states you drove in and how many miles in each state, and how much fuel you bought in each state. If you buy diesel in PA, but drive through OH and IN with that fuel, you have to pay the tax per gallon for each of those states. If the tax in PA is higher (which it is) and the rate is lower in OH and IN (it is in OH) the tax you paid in PA is spread to those states and you are actually entitled to a small rebate, but the trip back you buy fuel in OH and burn most of it in PA. Since OH has a much lower tax rate, you have to pay at the end of the quarter so that PA gets the amount that they want for the amount your burned in that state.
That's the simplified version of it.
Since truck drivers have to pay so much for that fuel and can really do nothing about it, they charge a higher amount to deliver the goods. If they are delivering fuel, the price to deliver that gets higher as well. Every time that the trucking industry gets a new regulation that adds to their expenses, it gets passed on to you the consumer.
The second reason that I mentioned on high gas prices was consumer behavior. Not many people actually use less liquid fuels just because the price is higher. We have to have it, right? The truck drivers have to fuel up to get the product to the stores. Commuters have to get to work right? Well, since we'll pay for it no matter how much, we get charged that higher amount. If we reduced the amount that we "have" to use, the price would go down just like it would if the politicians wouldn't try to fill budget gaps with fuel tax increases.