If there's one thing Americans hate, it's expensive gasoline. Not only can it ruin a gas guzzler's day, but high fuel prices also affect myriad other aspects of our lives. Prices at the pump can dictate a person's employment, serve as a political dagger, bring a fuel-hungry economy to its knees, or spur innovation for alternative energies. To put the United States' fuel bill in perspective, let's take a global look at who's doling out the most dollars to fill up the tank.
The World Bank publishes one of the most comprehensive pump price lists around, but it takes time to add up all those gas station receipts. Here's what they've compiled for 2010, the most recent global data available.
It should come as no surprise that 12 of the 15 most expensive countries in this chart are European. Eritrea topped the list at $9.61 per gallon in 2010, while Venezuela brought up the rear with the near-negligible $0.08 pump price. The U.S. had the cheapest gasoline of any developed country in this chart of 2010 data, and came in 23rd place overall for cheapest gas ($2.88/gallon).
Today versus 2010
In the past three years, the world economy pulled itself out of the ditch, brent crude oil prices shot up 37% to $108 per barrel, and Justin Bieber sold more than 11.3 million albums worldwide. Gas prices are higher almost everywhere, but the trends remain the same. According to a recent Bloomberg report, Turkey now tops the list at $9.89 per gallon, followed by nine European countries. Of the 60 countries analyzed by Bloomberg, the United States has the seventh-cheapest gas ($3.29 per gallon). Venezuela ranked No. 60 at $0.06.
And, just like in 2010, oil-rich countries are keeping costs low for their own citizens. U.A.E. residents pay $1.77 per gallon, while Kuwaitis dole out just $0.81.
Starting in 2013, slowing demand pushed U.S. refineries to pull back on gasoline production, causing energy prices to shoot up and increasing producer costs for the overall economy. Should we be paying more at the pump, pushing people to get serious about energy efficiency and alternative options? Or should Uncle Sam subsidize Big Oil and energize our aching economy? Comment below!