posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 06:31 PM
I don't think the sales of hybrid vehicles are driving gas prices. For one, hybrids make up such a small percentage of car sales that (for the
moment, at least) their impact on demand is negligible.
The increasing popularity of Sport-Utility vehicles and 4x4 pickups probably has more impact on the price of gas than hybrids...note that, in spite of
increasing sales of hybrids, total demand for gasoline is going up, not down.
Other things that factor into the price of gas at the pump:
Well-head price for crude - You might look at the price of the raw materials over time...and remember that when you read "so many dollars per
barrel", the Standard Blue Barrel (yes, it's captialized for a reason) is 42 gallons....so $63/barrel means that it's costing BigOilCo $1.50 /
gallon just to get it out of the ground.
Transportation cost for raw crude - Again, not sure how the price / gallon on this has behaved, but tankers aren't cheap, nor is pipeline
Refining cost - Obviously, your car dosn't burn raw crude oil...in fact, not much does...it's actually not easy to ignite. It's got to be refined
into usable forms (like gasoline), and the refineries that provide that service charge for it.
Transportation cost of refined products - See above, with the caveat that trucks and barges (while efficient) aren't free.
Taxes - Here in Arizona, about $0.44 / gallon of what I'm paying doesn't go to BigOilCo, it goes to Janet Napolitano (or at least to her
administration) as taxes In some states, you pay more, in some, you pay less, but by (insert spiritual authority of choice *here*, you will pay).
End-distributor markup - The gas station owner has to make at least something per gallon to stay in business, and the cost of doing business certainly
hasn't gone down in the last few decades.
Before linking hybrid sales to gas prices, you need to also look at all of the factors above (and probably a few more that I missed). It's not a
simple relationship. In fact, just as food for thought....are the oil companies making record profits because of record markups on each gallon of
gasoline? Or are they making record profits because they're selling more gallons of gas than ever before, at thinner margins?