• May 1, 2006
Or so says Andris Piebalgs, the European Union’s energy commissioner. Gas prices in Europe are currently at the equivalent of $6.62/gallon, more than twice the average price of a gallon of go-juice in the U.S. Imagine paying $72.82 to fill your 11-gallon gas tank, or how about $125 to fill your 20-gallon tank? Though we in the U.S. cry foul at $3/gallon gas, Europeans can only remember with envy those days when fuel didn’t cost a day’s wage. Meanwhile fuel-dependant companies are passing the extra costs right down the line to consumers.

One interesting note is that taxes comprise 66% of the cost of fuel in Europe. As of 2005 gas in the U.S. carried with it federal, state and local taxes that ranged anywhere from 32.9 cents to 62.9 cents per gallon. New York’s combined gas tax is the highest in the nation at near 63 cents/gallon, which means at last week’s price of $2.914/gallon about 29%, or less than half the amount of taxes Europeans pay, went to the government.


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  • 45 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      And no, this forum shouldn't become WW2 all over again. The US has many flaws the so called Proud Japanese listed but a lot of things that make up for them on a national scale. Not everybody has to be exactly like Northern Europe to be happy. They have their own substantial flaws, believe me.
      • 8 Years Ago
      quote:
      Now, let us school him:

      Sir, MOST OF OUR (AMERICAN) FREIGHT GOES BY RAIL!!!
      It is EUROPE that ships the MAJORITY of their freight by TRUCK!!
      /quote

      Care to support that? The fastest statistics I found suggest the opposite.

      http://www.bts.gov/press_releases/2005/bts003_05/html/bts003_05.html
      • 8 Years Ago
      I can't believe how ignorant people can be. On both sides!

      It probably is true, that in america more things are delivered by rail than in europe ... but hey .. i guess way more People take the train here and stay away from the roads (most because they can't afford a car, which is so much more expensive here than in america .. beginning with the driving licence)

      But what i also don't get is why do you say that we shouldn't be commiserated because our Government puts so much tax on our fuel? ... I mean, we can't change it! and don't you moan and groan because gas prices rise too?

      open your eyes!
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Based on ton-miles, a measure combining weight and distance, rail and trucking each accounted for 40 percent of freight"

      What trains lose in tonnage, they gain in distance.

      Europe has a far more extensive rail system that we do, and thus they should ship more freight by rail than they can. Of course the UN doesn't issue nagging "reports", and the New York Times doesn't do snarky "exposes" about how deficient Europeans are at it, and how their "selfishness" fouls up the atmosphere.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Furthermore, I'll do it again:

      PDF here:
      http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/taubmancenter/pdfs/working_papers/fagan_vassallo_05_rail.pdf

      Wikipedia here:
      "In the 1950s, the U.S. are Europe moved roughly the same percentage of freight by rail; but, by 2000, the share of U.S. rail freight was 38% while in Europe only 8% of freight traveled by rail."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transport_in_the_United_States
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not to be unsympathetic but they don't have to drive as far for most things. Not all people in the EU but most... Not to mention their cars actually use less gas, gosh seems like a smart group of people to me... use more efficient cars and drive less? Ok every one in north america is going to move to Texas and we can experiance the same thing!

      --Noah
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gas is much higher in Europe but CAFE standards are almost double the US. So, effectively, the consumer in Europe is likely spending little more on gas than we are. It it is crippling growth in Europe, it is doing so in the US.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yeah, too bad America isn't way smaller in land area. That'd solve everything.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The gas tax isn't even the whole story. Policies vary widely by country, but cars in many places are taxed on either output (horsepower, CV, whatever you want to call it) and/or engine displacement at annual registration. So...you get taxed heavily for buying "too much car" (basically a luxury tax) and then again when buying fuel. This is an unfortunate cost of more socialistic society.

      In France, for example, diesel is encouraged by the gov't, so it's cheaper per liter due to less tax. They also tax cars (at registration/renewal) on output instead of displacement. The interesting result is that torque-biased diesels offer more performance bang for the tax buck, get better range from the volume of fuel and use fuel that costs less. This is why cars like the Peugeot 206 with the 2.0L HDI powertrain and Renault's 2.2 dCI-powered small cars have been very popular. These are basically each company's "big" diesel - usually developed for larger cars - shoved into smaller cars.

      Yes, it's gov't meddeling and it's much less of a free market than the US; but it's interesting that companies and consumers find creative ways to keep things fun...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Recently, there was posted a pair of essays written by economics types relating to the topic:

      http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/

      I agree with Posner. Taxes on fossil fuels in the US are too low. The lobbying is too strong. I would like nothing better to see incentives to ship via truck disappear, as I believe these vehicles are a horrible part of our daily life. Why aren't we using rail for shipping? Why are our trains so technologically behind? No incentive to use them! Gas is too cheap!

      I would also like to see fewer billboards, but that's another discussion I guess (although related to driving - less driving equals less incentive to make billboards).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Too bad the Americans are the most nationalistic and jingoistic people on the planet. Having fun waving that flag of yours around?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Too bad Americans are the most nationalistic and jingoistic people on the planet. USA! USA! USA! Having fun waving that flag of yours around?
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