Getting A Handle On Where Your Gas Dollars Go

By Jeff Neumeyer

May 4, 2011 Updated May 4, 2011 at 5:27 PM EDT

INDIANA (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- What's really driving the price of fuel?

With record high gas prices in Indiana, just about everyone is questioning the legitimacy of the prices, and whether consumers are getting ripped off.

We explore a breakdown of who has their hand out these days when you go to the gas station.

There's no denying that gas pump prices are on a steady, painful uphill climb.

When Nick Scott watches the numbers add up now, he can't help but think about who's taking him to the cleaners.

Nick Scott/Motorist: " The thought does cross your mind. I mean, you always think about that, especially with what's going on in the Middle East and everything. You kind of think about where the money is actually going."

Kevin Krause/Motorist: " We're going to get screwed, because our corn goes up, anything that uses gas goes up, and we still don't have jobs."

So where does the gas money go?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 68 percent of what you pay at the pump covers the cost of crude oil.

13 percent goes for refining, 7 percent for distribution and marketing, 12 percent goes for local, state and federal taxes.

Indiana's state excise tax is a flat 18 cents per gallon.

But Indiana is one of about 15 states that also has a percentage-based sales tax on fuel.

Beth Mosher/AAA Chicago: " As gas prices rise, so does the amount that people in Indiana are paying in gas taxes. Even a few more cents, depending on the price, every day to every gallon, which can really add up."

Jeff Neumeyer: " The high cost of fuel and the prospect the price will go even higher, is prompting some folks to take on a different mindset about what kind of vehicle they want to be driving."

When fuel prices started bearing down on the four-dollar a gallon mark, Mark Summerlin got out a pad and paper to see if he could ease the pain from his gas guzzling SUV.

He cut the mileage back on his Suburban, he bought a Volkswagen Jetta, getting more than twice the mileage, using the gas savings to fund nearly all his new car payment and insurance cost.

Mark Summerlin/Traded Cars to Beat Gas Prices: " We do love the Suburban, it's a great vehicle, but overall, it's rough on gas. We were getting 12, 13 miles to the gallon, and you can't pass by a gas station in town without having to stop."

AAA says in 2009, the average Hoosier used three percent of his or her income on fuel.

Now it's 7 percent, taking a lot of money away from other things you could spend it on.

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