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Who Benefits From High Gasoline Prices?

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Retail gasoline prices are up for the tenth consecutive week, reaching their highest level since October. Who's winning here?

The average retail gasoline price in the US is currently $3.812 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) -- the first time that gas prices have been that high this early in the year.

Of $50 spent on gas, for example, only about $1.25 goes towards a profit for your local gas station, according to figures compiled by Sageworks. The largest bulk of the cost goes into the actual commodity ($34), followed by refining ($4), distribution and marketing ($4.25) along with taxes ($6.5).

Some companies in the S&P 500 are reaping the gains from high oil prices. Consider the S&P Energy sector, which is up over 6 percent so far in 2013, while the oil and gas refining subsector is up 22 percent. Valero and Marathon Petroleum are the best performing stocks in the group, up more than 26 percent this year.

Other names involved in oil equipment and services are also performing well -- both FMC Technolgies and Halliburton are up more than 16 percent year-to-date.

Although WTI crude oil prices are off by nearly 4 percent in the past two sessions, the commodity is still up 10 percent in the past year.

The table below illustrates where each dollar spent at the pump actually goes and how investors may position themselves depending on where they expect oil to head next.

For Every $50 You Spend on Gas

Crude Oil $34 68%
Refining oil into gas $4 8%
Distribution & Marketing $4.25 8.5%
Taxes $6.5 13%
Gas station profit $1.25 2.5%
Source: Sageworks & EIA