By on March 26, 2012

The Economist has put together the above chart showing global gas prices as of February 2012, as well as how fast they’ve risen in the past 12 months. Even with gas approaching $4 overall, we’re not doing too badly compared to the rest of the world.

While the French still have to cope with $10/gallon gasoline, their prices have increased the least, while Italians have seen fuel costs go up 18 percent. Italy ranks behind Norway and the Netherlands for the priciest fuel, while the US is still sitting at about $3.53 a gallon on average. Australia, land of the V8 super sedan, pays $5.82 a gallon. No wonder the Mazda3 has overthrown the Holden Commodore as Australia’s best selling car.

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41 Comments on “A Look At Gas Prices Across The Globe...”

  • avatar

    Percent Change In Price is a poor measure of economic impact.
    Total Price shown in a small font is much more important.
    IF they wanted to be more informative, the chart would have each column in two colors, the base price and the increase that would also show the total price. Then it would be quite obvious how sheltered the US drivers are.

    • 0 avatar

      Percentage price change is probably the best measure of economic impact. Yes US drivers have cheap fuel but its the change in price that has the greatest effect on peoples lives.

      An interesting chart would be a comparison of percentage income spent on transport, also the change in price in Euros.

    • 0 avatar

      No, the chart is not stupid. The income consumption function reaches a certain equilibrium based upon the absolute price of oil (relative to other goods or economic inputs). The individual indifference curves and the marginal rates of substitution change according to the percentage price change. Furthermore, the shift-bias of the production possibilities frontier is also affected by the percentage price increase of oil.

      Americans complain the loudest b/c our relatively low taxes make consumers susceptible to gasoline price volatility. The rest of the world has solved the problem by making their people miserable from the start. If you understand economics, instead of focusing on inane cultural morality, you can better understand the situation.

      Yes, the side effect of being spoiled by decent energy policy is sensitivity to change. Our government is trying to desensitize the American economy with CAFE standards rather than raising the price of oil like everyone else has done.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Africa? South America? Asia?

  • avatar

    I’m tired of hearing how cheap our gas is compared to the rest of the world. Assuming everybody used a car for primary transport, yes, we would have it pretty good by comparison. But I doubt many people in Europe commute by car the distance from Antwerp to Rotterdam every day, as do I and millions of others here in the States. Sure, I’d be willing to pay more, a lot more, if we had decent public infrastructure and close-in communities. I’d simply hop the train to work during the week and walk or bike everywhere else on the weekend, keeping my diesel wagon in the garage for rainy days or an occasional drive in the countryside.

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      And how do you think they funded that infrastructure?

    • 0 avatar

      As Antwerp to Rotterdam is only 100 kms, I can assure you that a lot of people do commute on that distance in Europe everyday. So, yes, as an American you have it pretty good.

    • 0 avatar

      I hear this argument all the time, but Europeans (at least the Britons I met on my trips there) seem to love their cars.

      The UK at least doesn’t look that different from here.

      It looks like closer to 9000 in Europe as a whole (unsurprising, given that this would include poorer eastern and southern European countries)

      Sure, there’s good transit in downtown London, just like downtown NY or Chicago. Away from there, it seems like everyone drives there just like here.

      I’ve always heard 12,000/year is normal in the US… I don’t know if that’s changed due to the combined forces of higher gasoline prices and people moving to the bare edges of civilization.

      I drive 25 miles each way, which is a bit excessive. However, I don’t work in the nicest area;down there, it seems to be a choice between ghetto or living in subdivisions on the edge of the wilderness. I like being near coffeeshops, bistro bars, shopping, restaurants, and other singles.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll give the standard response, then.

      Here in Canada, our driving habits are pretty much identical to the US. I commute to work in my car on a multi-lane highway, luckily for only 1/2 hour each way. There is no public transit in the suburb I live in. In the city, I frequently sit in traffic. Our family is spread around our province and we drive about 12k miles per year. We have a full size truck to haul our 29′ travel trailer and for trips to Home Depot, and a small car to commute in. We pay about 30% more for our gas than you guys ($5.10/gal here).

      Sound familiar?

    • 0 avatar

      > Sure, I’d be willing to pay more, a lot more, if we had decent public infrastructure and close-in
      > communities. I’d simply hop the train to work during the week and walk or bike everywhere else
      > on the weekend, keeping my diesel wagon in the garage for rainy days or an occasional drive in
      > the countryside.

      And we are about $5/gal gasoline tax away from that.

    • 0 avatar

      Why do Americans choose to commute a distance from Antwerp to Rotterdam every day? Nobody is forcing them to do that. I live in the suburbs and work in the suburbs. It takes me 10 min to get to work, and I spend around a quarter as much on gas as a typical American.

      We don’t need higher population density, more mass transit (but that would be nice), or even new advanced tech (but that would also be great)–we need a better alignment of housing and employment.

  • avatar

    So, the price increase being felt in some parts of the US are offset by the price increases being felt in other parts of the US. Now, if we could somehow get the same price increase across the US, then this chart could be only completely useless, instead of insanely stupid.

  • avatar


    I beg to differ. I remember paying $0.87/gal after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks since no flying was allowed in the US for a few weeks after.

    In 2012$, that only equates to US$1.12. Thus, why is gasoline so ‘expensive’? Political expediency.

    When Lord Obama took office, average gasoline prices were $1.82. HIS policies have raised prices not only here, but around the world as crude oil is traded in a world market, like most commodities.

    To my friends on the ‘left’, blame yourselves. Higher gas $=higher cost of ALL goods (since they need to be moved somehow, usually by tractor-trailer or rail). Plain and simple.

    Read/watched ‘Atlas Shrugged’ lately? Just sayin’…

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, and remember the nice smooth rise in prices from 1.12 to 1.82? Why, in spring of 2008, we were filling up for $1.60 something, right?

      I can never remember if we’re supposed to blame high gas prices on the president for being hostile to oil producers or blame them on the president for being too chummy with oil producers.

      No president wants to see gas prices increase because the simpletons will blame him for it, and he’ll lose votes. And in the end, he has very little control over gas prices aside from publicity stunts like flushing the strategic reserves.

      Don’t be a shill.

      Back on topic, having high gasoline excise taxes can temper changes in the market and insulate drivers from rapid oil price climbs. If you’re paying $5/gallon, and the price goes up $1, that’s a much smaller percentage change than if you’re paying $3/gallon and it goes up $1.

      That said, all of our choices regarding transportation are wagers on the future. In living 25 miles from my place of work, I’m wagering that I’ll be able to fuel my vehicle if prices double. Make your choices, place your bets, but don’t cry to me when it doesn’t work out.

      • 0 avatar

        You should have told that to the simpleton in chief before he did this interview.

      • 0 avatar

        “…$1.60 something, right?”

        Spiked above $4 in today’s dollars the summer before the election.

        I love how people take the dead-of-winter in the depths of the darkest-economic-hellstorm as some baseline economic indicator.

        “Look maw, the price of gas on Memorial Day is higher than it was a winter weekday when the eastern seaboard was under 6+ inches of snow.”

        Simpletons indeed.

        Y’all feel free to explain to the rest of us how the four superheros the (R)s are parading around will fair better.

    • 0 avatar

      Gas was over $4 here 3 months before the 2008 election, it was probably one of the catalysts for the economic crash.

      “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s
      life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish
      fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its
      unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially
      crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of
      course, involves orcs.”
      ― John Rogers

    • 0 avatar

      > When Lord Obama took office, average gasoline prices
      > were $1.82. HIS policies have raised prices not only here

      Same thing here in Canada. Gas prices have always increased when the Liberals were in power and always decreased under the Conservatives. In fact, now that the Conservatives have a majority, gas prices are going way down. Cost me just $10 of our funny money to fill up my Ranger yesterday.

      Yeah, right.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, but I don’t understand what I’ve got to do with that. I was simply stating that doing a 100 kms commute wasn’t that odd in Europe… And that Americans were paying their gas cheaper than Europeans. The difference is that we sometimes have more economical gas – or are addicted to diesel (which used to be cheaper than gas, but the gap is closing)

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I filled my car up with 93 yesterday, for the first time in quite a while. This time I was in Porter County, Indiana – at a station about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago.

    93 -> $4.60/gallon
    87 -> $4.40
    E85 -> $3.35
    Diesel ->$3.99

    I can’t ever remember a time when diesel was so much cheaper than 87. Is this the new normal? Not only that, but at that price delta, E85 might be worth it.

  • avatar

    Ok, so here’s a question for Derek.

    The Honda Civic has been the best-selling car in Canada for like a decade, Mazda 3 the #3. Yet we have the second-cheapest gas on that chart.

    How does that statistic affect your analysis of the situation with Australia?

    • 0 avatar

      I like to think that its just us being ahead of the curve.

      In realty, minivans (Caravan) and trucks (F-150) make up the other top sellers, so often families have one bigger car and one smaller. Also, the gas prices don’t reflect the fact that, in general (historically, more than now) the same car cost more in Canada to purchase.

      • 0 avatar

        Here in Oz there are more things to consider than the price of petrol. Someone earlier mentioned the low population density in the US which would not support good public transport systems. Well, Australia’s population density is about 15X less.
        Also, our very long goat tracks often referred to as highways, provide harsh punishment for weakly built, small cars and have for decades provided good reason for the Falcons and Holdens, strong cars which would probably cost too much and last too long for US tastes.
        There are also a lot of unsealed roads hence a lot of Landcruisers and no Sequoias.

  • avatar

    Stupid chart of the year award goes to Derek Kreindler for this flagrant misrepresentation of prices.

    What is more relevant is the price Europeans pay for before and after taxes. You’d be surprised to learn that most European countries actually pay less per gallon than Americans do per gallon… before taxes are added.

    • 0 avatar

      That was going to be my point. Europe and Japan have chosen to discourage personal vehicle use through taxation. Further, gasoline prices comparisons between the US and Europe not only need to consider the fact of taxation but that diesel use is encouraged in Europe and discouraged here

      I also find iit interesting that gas prices haven’t changed much in Japan. Why not?

    • 0 avatar

      > this flagrant misrepresentation of prices

      Huh? The chart shows gas price increases over 12 months.

      Taxes on gas are higher in Europe. You know that. I know that. But the chart isn’t about taxes. You feel taxes are too high in Europe? Blame the Europeans, don’t blame the author.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s misleading because it doesn’t explain why Europeans as a whole pay more for their fuel than Americans do.

        Aside from some countries were fuel is heavily subsidized, prices are going up all around the world.

  • avatar

    I have quite a few relatives that live in Europe. Yes, many commute on a daily basis by car. There are two important differences: 1)The commutes tend on average to be shorter than American commutes. 2) The average European car is MUCH smaller than the average US car.

    I know people who work in Manhattan and drive everyday from the Poconos in Pennsylvania….in other words, they drive clear across the state of New Jersey every day to get to work…100+ miles. Such commutes are unheard of in Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      People in America have 100+ mile commutes because they *choose* to.

      There are plenty of places in the US where you can live a <10 minute drive from work, or you can live in a big city and have close physical proximity to your job and functional public transportation to get you there.

      Sure, there are tradeoffs. Housing might be more expensive, and you probably won't be able to live in as big of a place as you have out in the boondocks, etc.

      A long commute is still a choice, one that is enabled by cheap fuel.

      Given pressure from gradually increasing gas prices/taxes, there's no real reason that more people in the US couldn't move towards a lifestyle that more closely resembles Europe.

      • 0 avatar

        The only reason people “choose” 100+ mile commutes is because the US has, since the end of WWII, undertaken an official policy of sinking trillions of dollars into personal motorized transportation infrastructure. In most places people have no choice, and must drive.

        As for moving toward a European lifestyle, it will take a very long time, will be very expensive, and be very painful. The kind of infrastructure required doesn’t even exist outside of places like New York, San Fransico, Boston, and few other old cities. Millions are going to lose their shirts in the process.

      • 0 avatar

        Skor is right, as well the increased urbanization in North America means we are seeing drainage of the population into cities for jobs…which means everyone wants to live in the cities, and since our public transportation is generally limited within those cities, everyone wants to live in the core, which costs a lot of money.

        To illustrate my point I’ll use Toronto, Ontario. Nice city, good jobs, good public transportation if you live in a relatively small area around the core. However, to live in said area, you have to buy/rent at unbelievably obscene pricing (Vancouver is worse). See the tiny $1.1 million 70s bungalow that sold here the other week at $400k over asking. If you are one of many that can’t afford this, you drive, through some of the worst traffic in North America. If you can’t afford that (or don’t want to), you can’t have a job in Toronto, and better try and find something else somewhere else. Which, given our increasing centralization and urbanization, can be quite challenging.

      • 0 avatar

        Surely in a 100+ mile commute you would be passing other similar areas to where you live?

        Having said that, none of this is unique to the US. Sure the average distance might be a bit longer but the commuting time is probably closer to a ‘world average’.

      • 0 avatar

        outback_ute is right: if you drive that far, you are passing other places to live as well as other places to work.

        I said this above, but I’ll repeat it. The single biggest problem for US commutes is the misalignment of housing and work sites. We have expansive, upper-middle class suburban housing with nary a upper-middle class job nearby. Why? There’s no reason such jobs need to be in central business district. And honestly, there’s no reason that telecommuting can’t be implemented in more places.

      • 0 avatar

        “The single biggest problem for US commutes is the misalignment of housing and work sites. We have expansive, upper-middle class suburban housing with nary a upper-middle class job nearby. Why? There’s no reason such jobs need to be in central business district. And honestly, there’s no reason that telecommuting can’t be implemented in more places.”

        Wouldn’t building office complexes in the suburbs/outskirts of urban areas just convince people to move even FURTHER out into the exurbs, as it would be clear that “the city is moving in?” I agree on the telecommuting, but these jobs frequently have lower-middle class clerical workers, blue collar working class laborers doing maintenance and janitorial work. Moving the business districts away from the CBD just makes a different group of commuters bite the bullet… those who can least afford it, may not even own cars, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul W

      “100+ miles. Such commutes are unheard of in Europe.”

      Yeah, because you can’t pull something like that off unless you have US gas prices!

  • avatar

    Here is something to think about:

    After reading this I understand that $4 gas is not so bad, also, much of high gas prices is in our heads, look at this.

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