Without doubt, American drivers are feeling the pinch at the gas pump again as fuel prices have recently surged well past the $3 per gallon mark, recording a 20 per cent increase in the past year. According to the U.S. Energy information Administration, the nationwide average in America on February 21, 2011 was $3.19 for a gallon of regular gasoline (€compared to $2.66 the same day a year ago.
Nevertheless, that's nothing compared to Europe where motorists paid between $6.21 and $9.08 per gallon in mid-February, 2011, according to data from the European Road Information Centre. The countries with the cheapest unleaded gasoline were Latvia at $6.21 per gallon or €1.19 per liter, and Bulgaria and Estonia, both at $6.28 per gallon or €1.20 per liter.
On the other side of the spectrum, we find Norway where motorists paid a whopping $9.08 per gallon or €1.75 per liter, and the Netherlands at $8.59 per gallon or €1.65 per liter.
One of the main reasons for the huge difference in fuel prices is that European governments put a much higher tax on gas compared to the USA. Whereas taxes in many European countries account for more than 60% of the total price, in the U.S., the Federal and average State tax made up for just 13% of the price of a gallon of regular gasoline in January 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
Unfortunately for motorists, the recent troubles across the Middle East can only have a negative effect on oil prices in the foreseeable future.
_____________________FUEL PRICES: USA vs EUROPE____________________
*Figures are converted to US dollars based on the currency exchange rates on February 23, 2011
*European fuel prices were sourced from the European Road Information Centre (ERIC) and are for February 18, 2011.
*USA prices were sourced from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and are for February 14, 2011.