1 Graph to Put Gas Prices in Perspective

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.

Pump prices
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.

Source: World Bank, 2010 data (most recent 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!

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2013, at 11:47 PM, pharmer733 wrote:

    Gasoline consumes 61% of oil in this country (WSJ) Switching to alternative fuels, such as methanol made from inexpensive natural gas, can be produced for significantly lower cost per gallon. Consider the impact of high gasoline prices on working families. Commuting costs can cut deep into family budgets, leaving less to spend and stimulate the economy. If we were to use an expensive alternative fuel, like methanol, consider the stimulus to the economy from the dollars available to spend and from the funds which remain in the country, not spent on foreign oil.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2013, at 3:45 AM, stefan79 wrote:

    Here is March 2013 update on world gasoline and diesel prices: http://www.mytravelcost.com/petrol-prices/

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2013, at 7:36 PM, jackellisp wrote:

    Graph as a line plot: https://plot.ly/~jackp/462 (made with plot.ly)

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