To build a new oil refinery in the united states a refinery operator would need to spend an estimated $5-7 Billion Dollars if it could get through the legal/environmental/political hurdles. Refiners contribute roughly 14% of the cost per gallon of gas. (@ $4.59 a gallon that is .58 Cents per gallon of gas is refining costs. That isn't their profit, thats just what they add on to a gallon of gasoline. http://www.energy.ca.gov/gasoline/margins/index.html Refineries operate on a very slim margin of roughly 5-6%. so out of the .58 cents per gallon that they add on, they make about $3 cents per gallon. What is the pay back period of their investment? How long is it going to take them to start making money on their investment? FYI: Total US refinery capacity is sitting at 17M barrels per day. http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pe..._dcu_nus_a.htm 1 barrel of Oil = 42 gallons of gasoline (google search) A new refinery (if you could get it built) could produce say 150,000 barrels per day (with no downtime factored in) 150,000 X 42 X.03= $189,000 in profit per day. $7,000,000,000/($189,000 X 365 days (no downtime factored in for maintenance) = about 101 years to pay it off. Does that sound like a good investment to you?