How much does a gallon of gas actually cost?

Gas is cheap, right? Last year the national average at the pump was a paltry $2.25/gallon. That means if you had a 12-gallon gas tank, you could fill up for less than $30. Gas this “inexpensive” should bring huge benefits to American families.

But that $2.25/gallon? It’s only a fraction of what you pay to fill up your car or truck. The truth is, you’re actually paying much, much more.

What you really pay is closer to $6.13/gallon—a staggering $73.56 per fill up.

What you don’t pay directly at the pump, you’re paying through higher taxes to fund our military’s efforts to defend oil and oil trade routes around the globe. You’re paying through increased healthcare costs, as our medical system is forced to deal with all the people sickened by the air pollution coming out of vehicle tailpipes. You’re paying through the damage that climate change—caused and accelerated by the greenhouse gas emissions from our cars and trucks—wreaks on our communities. You’re paying through all the money our government gives away to oil companies in the form of subsidies.

Here’s a breakdown of all the hidden costs:


But we don’t just pay with money—there’s a human toll too. We pay with the lives of our brave men and women in uniform, sent overseas to secure oil companies’ access to crude. The lives of those in communities caught in the path of extreme weather events worsened by climate change. The lives of the tens of thousands of Americans who fall victim to the toxic particles we spew into the air.

So the next time you fill up, remember: You’re not just paying the number that flashes up on the gas pump. You’re actually paying much, much more. And until we end our dependence on oil, Americans will continue to feel a drain on our wallets and well-being—one way or another.


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