It has been a while since I used the EIA’s Gasoline Component History such as the two graphs in this post. The first graph shows the inflation adjusted price of a gallon of gasoline and how much of that is comprised of the cost of oil. My inflation adjustment is based on the consumer price index with the base period being early 2006 (BLS uses the early 1980’s as their base period but since prices doubled over this period, I simply divide their deflator by two). The recent surge in gasoline prices appears to be entirely driven by the surge in the cost of oil.
I was motivated to redo my charts after I posted this in reference to the belief of Jonah Goldberg that higher gasoline prices can be attributed to rising taxes and higher refinery margins. But these beliefs do seem to be quite stupid when one checks the data to find that the refinery margin has fallen to only 35 cents per gallon and taxes have fallen to only 37 cents a gallon. I offer this post to Jonah and others in the hope that they actually check the facts before launching into some future ill-informed rant.