NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gasoline prices have been rising for months and are within striking distance of their 2008 all-time high of $4.11 a gallon. But while oil prices are above $100 a barrel, they're still 24% below their 2008 all-time high.
So why is gasoline so expensive, when oil is so far off its record price?
The answer is that the price of oil Americans see every day has little to do with the price of gasoline at the pump.
Those prices are for a particular type of oil -- West Texas Intermediate -- that's stored in Cushing, Okla.
Thanks to increasing supplies from the Rocky Mountain states and Canada's oil sands, plus a lack of pipelines to move that oil out, there's currently a big glut of oil in Cushing. That's pushing the price of West Texas crude down.
Prices for most other types of oil, which make up the vast majority of oil that refiners use in U.S. gasoline, are much higher than West Texas Intermediate. London's Brent crude, for example, was closer to $124 a barrel on Wednesday.
"It's really a broken benchmark," Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said of the West Texas price.
Also, it's important to remember that oil and gasoline prices don't move in lockstep with one another. Gas prices lag behind oil prices by a couple of weeks.
During the oil price spike of 2008, gas prices were still trying to catch up as oil prices had already started falling.
That put refiners in a tight spot.
"[Refiners] couldn't sell their product for as much as crude was increasing," Rayola Dougher, a senior economic advisor for the American Petroleum Institute. "People lost money."
Kloza, who crunches numbers for motorist group AAA, agrees. "Crude went up," in 2008, he said, "but gas prices did not follow."
The difference between what refiners pay for a gallon of oil now and how much a gallon of gas sells for -- excluding taxes -- is about 78 cents, said Dougher.
That's slightly higher than normal, but not terribly so, said Dougher.
That's little consolation to drivers, who can expect the price of gas to continue rising. Gas prices have jumped 29 cents over the past 29 days to a nationwide average of $3.84 a gallon, according to AAA.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.75%||3.76%|
|15 yr fixed||2.97%||2.96%|
|30 yr refi||3.74%||3.77%|
|15 yr refi||2.98%||2.98%|
Today's featured rates:
Nike is opening up shop on Amazon.com and the company plans "big shifts" over the coming year. More
Not only do many women depend on insurance coverage for maternity care and contraception, it commonly falls to them to plan health care and coverage for the whole family. Yet as leaders in Washington discuss the future of American health care, women have not always been allowed in the room. More
Volkswagen will make the VW I.D. Buzz, an all-electric microbus, available for sale. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
Despite having more financial "skin in the game" than ever, many consumers don't make any attempt to compare prices for health care services, a newly released study found. More