Comparative Gas Prices

It's a global commodity.

WaPo has a run-down on comparative gas prices: Think U.S. gas prices are high? Here’s how far $40 goes around the world.]

The basics:

Much more at the link.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, World Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Positively cheap, if you’re driving a 2010 Camry. Now that crew cab Superduty that is being driven to Walmart…

  2. Mister Bluster says:

    Washington Post
    Pop Up Pay Wall Notice

    MONTHLY Best Value
    4 weeks FREE
    then $4 every four weeks for the first year

    4 weeks FREE
    then $40 for the first year

    I’ll pass. I need the $40 for gas…

  3. James Joyner says:

    They’re actually kind of burying their lede here, though.

    I’ve known for at least 40 years that gas is way more expensive in Europe than it is here. It’s certainly worth explaining that to Americans. But what’s interesting is that gas prices have increased radically here over the last year-plus in comparison with most other countries—which I wouldn’t have expected.

    They show:

    France: Cost of gas: $8.11/gallon now vs $7.01/gallon last summer
    Germany: $7.46/gallon vs. $6.81/gallon
    South Africa: $5.61/gallon vs $4.55/gallon

    They don’t provide US data for comparison but the AAA link they provide shows a national average of $4.81 right now vs $3.12 last year (and it was a lot cheaper the year before but the AAA site doesn’t show those figures). USEIA shows $4.872 for 06/27/22 vs $3.09 for 06/28/21 and $2.12 for 06/22/20. That’s in the heart of the COVID lockdowns, though. It was $2.654 on 06/24 /19.

    Regardless, the prices in France and Germany have gone up much less in dollar amounts and radically less in terms of percentages.

  4. de stijl says:

    I had already decided my next car is going to be electric about a year or so back.

    I don’t drive very much. My grocery store is two blocks away so I always walk. The library is 3/4 mile away so I walk. The bar I occasionally go to is 3 blocks away. I need to go to Minneapolis once a year. I need to go downtown once a month – 8 mile round-trip.

    All told, I drive 10 to 50 miles a month. Average is close to 20 excluding the Minneapolis and back drive.

    I need a reliable low maintenance vehicle. I couldn’t give two craps about style or panache or “what does this car say about me as a person”. I don’t care. Does it do its job reliably?

    I would need to get a charging station installed.

  5. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner:

    Regardless, the prices in France and Germany have gone up much less in dollar amounts and radically less in terms of percentages.

    A lot more of the total price in those countries is taxes, so when the price of the gasoline itself goes up it’s a smaller percentage of the overall than it is in the US. Germany imposes both a flat 0.65 Euro excise tax and a 19% Mehrwertsteuer (value added tax) per liter, so when the base price of gasoline increases only the VAT increases with it. So it appears the overall price has gone up a bit less than in the US but in reality the gasoline itself has gone up about the same.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I blame Joe Biden.

    @James Joyner: To paraphrase my mother, “But the countries are closer together in Europe.”

  7. JohnSF says:

    @James Joyner:
    The narrowing spread will be due to large chunk of the price in Europe being flat-rate duty.
    In UK 53 pence per litre.
    As this doesn’t rise in line with market prices for petrol and diesel, total price increase is a bit less is percentage terms.
    Then VAT is charged at 20% on the price of the fuel and the duty.
    Revenue loves to double-dip. 🙂 / 🙁

  8. CSK says:

    According to CNBC, gas (petrol) is $8.60 a gallon in the U.K., but it’s always been astronomical there.

  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Sometimes if an article has a paywall, you can get to the article by using the title information in a web search. I did that for the Solveig Gold article from FTFNYT yesterday after the link paywalled me. In fact, it worked just now for this article because it’s on the feed WaPo provides for MSN.

  10. JohnSF says:

    £1.92 per litre at my closest petrol station yesterday.
    My rough calculation puts that around $8.90

  11. dazedandconfused says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s a good thing to get off fossil fuels, but at 50 miles a month with a 25mpg car, you’re only paying about $12.00 a month for gas at today’s prices…so it’s going to take a hell of a long time to recover the costs of switching to electric.

    We need cheaper electric cars. I too would jump at a new car that lost about 3/4s of the gadgetry which comes standard today. It’s a hard thing to be so out of step with most of society…

  12. James Joyner says:

    @de stijl: If you only drive 10 to 50 miles a month, I’d think taking a taxi or an Uber would be more cost-efficient than owning a car.

  13. de stijl says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’ve bought into the sunk cost fallacy.

    There are also times I just like to drive. Two years ago I was going to Target and I decided to go to Loess Hills state park instead which is eighty miles away. It was a nice trip. Fun drive, good views, a nice sit down lunch.

    I do not do it often, but I like and prefer the option to do it on a whim.

    Being reliant solely on somebody else’s car as my sole means of transportation strikes me as just wrong. I want my own wheels paid up full.

    It is probably rational and logical to go carless, but it just feels wrong.

    When I lived downtown and worked downtown I did not own a car for years and years. No need, but I felt the absence. I do not have the ability to go wherever I want whenever I want. It was a palpable gap between want and reality.

    I like having a vehicle I own. No bank loan. Outright own.

  14. JohnSF says:


    We need cheaper electric cars. I too would jump at a new car that lost about 3/4s of the gadgetry which comes standard today.

    Not new, but may do…
    Second hand electric milk floats!

  15. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner: Similar boat here – our 18 month old car has 4000 miles on it, 1200 of which were a single trip when we finally admitted we were done with the PNW and moved permanently to San Diego.

    That’s just over 150 miles a month – meaning we are paying the better part of a dollar per mile just for auto insurance.

    It doesn’t make financial sense, but like @de stijil, things come up that make us happy we have it. This week we were able to drive the grandkids to the beach when they were visiting. We could rent a car for these visits, but that has become difficult lately too.

    I dunno.

  16. de stijl says:

    I used to drive at least 2100 miles a month. I did that for 18 months.

    Every Sunday I drove 250 miles south. Every Friday I would drive back home. For months on end.

    Basically four hours door to door if you don’t stop to pee or eat. If you do, I highly recommend Happy Chef in Mason City. Happy Chef rocks!

    I was on a contract job so they were going to pay for my transport. I could fly if I wanted to, but I decided to not do that after week two into the gig. Too much hassle.

    Door to door it was four hours either way and flying meant more hassle and a car rental. Too much bother. Driving was easier.

    The contract allowed for the cheapest car available. I quickly upgraded to an SUV and knocked the over charge off my bill to the client. I preferred the extra height for sight lines. I ate that cost gladly. My personal vehicle then was a Jeep. It was what I was used to. Driving a sedan was too oddly low in perspective. Being that low to the ground was uncomfortable.

    Once you get past the outer rings traffic dies down considerably. It’s basically you and the semis.

    You kinda zone out. Listen to music. The occasional big rig or a car. Keep in the lane. Look at the landscape rolling by.

    The drive became became the most salient and meaningful part of my life. It started and ended the week. It was a respite. Nobody could call me. A brief cessation away from worry. A dead time where I could be myself. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  17. de stijl says:

    When they killed my contract it was abrupt.

    I drove down Sunday afternoon. I walked in Monday morning a 8. By 8:15 I was told the project sponsor had been fired (he was having an affair with his assistant which was fucking obvious), he was getting kick-backs from another consulting firm (not ours), it was a gd mess, a potential PR nightmare, and the lawyers shut the whole shebang down over the weekend.

    I left work about nine after they had processed me out, went to the residence hotel to pick up my shit and closed out the booking. I had four beers in the fridge I gave to the clerk. Was back on the road by ten AM.

    Seriously, you could have called anytime on Saturday or Sunday morning. That was an unnecessary trip.

    They rehired me a month later.

  18. dazedandconfused says:


    Yes, something Fred Flintstone could figure out. Perfect!

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: It is except for the longer trips that one might want to make. I have 53,000 miles on a car I’ve owned 7 years. Most of those miles are trips to visit Luddite, who lives roughly 75 miles away. I thought about using shank’s mares to get around and renting a car for when I needed to drive, but at ~$150 per trip, renting a car was prohibitive over the long term unless one is only renting a few times a year. (And actually, my rentals when I used to live in Korea were $250+ per because in my state you can’t have auto insurance if you don’t own an auto, so I bought full coverage–which might still be a better deal than carrying your own depending who your carrier is and how many cars you rent.)

  20. de stijl says:

    Little known fact. You can rent a car by the month. It is freakishly expensive, but you can do so. At least thru Avis you could.

    You need to bring it in every month and switch out so they can do maintenance and make sure you were not running a meth lab in the back, hauling around dead bodies, or god forbid smoked a cigarette inside the cab.

    The only people who ever did were folks like me. Cheaper than day rate or week.

    I had a choice of flying coach, driving my own vehicle and getting a mileage reimbursement, or renting a cheap car.

    The flight is 55 minutes give or take depending on wind, but you have get to the airport, park, check in, security, sit on your butt for an hour, board, stow your bag, sit, possibly awkwardly converse with your seatmate, land, retrieve your shit, crouch awkwardly until they open the door, walk several thousand yards, get any checked baggage if you were dumb enough to do that, then go to the taxi stand or the car rental line. Then drive or ride to your hotel.

    It is a process. It is not enjoyable. It is often annoying.

    I could take a handy bus about 30 yards from my door and get to the downtown Avis in about 8 minutes. Or walk there in 25 minutes.

    Once I figured out you could rent by the month I didn’t even need to do that. I would drive in once a month, say howdy to the person manning the desk and get a new set of keys.

    I had a permanently rented residence hotel room probably 250 sq. ft. with a dorm fridge and a microwave and a coffee maker. Vending machines, a laundry room. Cable TV and HBO. I didn’t need to check in, I had the key, it was my permanent room. Directly billed to the client so I didn’t have to worry about getting a receipt.

    Semi-sketchy neighborhood, but I’d lived in way worse than that by miles.

    Driving is way simpler and way less annoying. You have control. If you want to stop at the Happy Chef in Mason City for a burger, fries, and a strawberry milkshake you can. Or Arby’s in Owatonna. Zone out. Listen to the Pogues or The Revenants full volume or Science Friday with Ira Flatow on NPR at normal person volume. You can do whatever the fuck you want. If you fly you sit there and take it. You are somebody’s pawn the moment you pull into the parking garage.

    I made friends. Acquaintences. Work buddies. Work friends. I had dates. Developed go to hang out spots. Sussed out the good coffee joints.

    The gig town started feeling more like home than home.

  21. Hal_10000 says:

    The one thing that unites our politics — from Democrat to Republican — is the belief that Americans are entitled to cheap gas.

  22. Argon says:

    Google “bullwhip effect”. We can expect to experience flips between supply scarcity and availability for some time yet. A number of businesses are now facing overstock issues which will tend to be disinflationary. Interesting commentary by Cory Doctorow here

  23. Raoul says:

    @Mikey: Kevin Drum posted a chart recently how the price of gasoline in the US has gone up higher than the price of oil would suggest. He calculated that refineries are charging 60 cents more per gallon than the price of the barrel cost in comparison with historical median prices. In other words the variance between the cost of barrel per oil and the price per gallon has gone up the indicated amount within the last year. This added cost has nothing to do with the oil spot price nor long term labor contracts or refinery capital investments.