WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The Union of Concerned Scientists, a supporter of hybrid vehicles, said most U.S. commuters are putting too much money into the oil industry's pocketbooks.
A UCS report says that about 54 percent of the money spent on gasoline in the United States goes directly to oil companies rather than service station owners.
Motor group AAA reports that U.S. commuters are paying record levels for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline for this time of year. A refinery fire in Ohio and pending maintenance are in part responsible for a price spike in the U.S. Midwest.
AAA says U.S. commuters paid, on average, $3.53 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Tuesday, up 17 cents compared to last week. Illinois commuters, however, paid around $3.70 per gallon, up 22 cents compared to last week.
Joshua Goldman, a policy analyst for the clean vehicles program at UCS, said most commuters pay about the same for gasoline over the course of 15 years as they would for a new car during that same time frame.
"The only thing really benefiting from your oil use is oil companies' bottom line," he said.
UCS advocates alternative-fueled vehicles.
High gasoline prices are in part a response to higher oil prices on the international market.