American drivers getting angry when the gas pump automatically shuts off $50-75 into filling their cars might want to stop whining. In Norway, it can cost upwards of $130 to fill the !3.2 gallon tank of a MINI at $9.85/gallon. A new survey indicates that even at above $4/gallon, American prices are still among the cheapest in the world, in large part due to low taxation. Only 19 percent of the pump price of fuel in the US is attributable to taxes. Pretty much the only countries in the world with cheaper gas than the US are major exporters of oil that essentially give gas away. In the UK, more than 81 percent of the current 9$ price of a gallon of fuel goes to taxes.
At the $4.15 that gas runs where I am right now, even eliminating the tax entirely would still bring the price to only about $3.40. Americans who really want to save at the pump are now following the path of drivers elsewhere and just migrating to smaller, more efficient vehicles, driving less and changing their driving styles. Europeans, on the other hand now actually have a reason to complain about high fuel taxes. Truck drivers, fisherman and farmers are all feeling the pain and pushing for some relief. The taxes in Europe made sense from a public policy perspective in the past to encourage efficiency, but with the price of crude so high now, it may be time to back off.

[Source: Detroit News]

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