What are other countries doing about high gas prices?

Or are they not as high elsewhere in relative terms?

Could user countries organize against OPEC in some manner?

Not much of anything.

When the price of gasoline at the pump rises from the equivalent of $7 a gallon to $8.50 a gallon, it’s not really considered a crisis.

I’d be interested in knowing what the reaction is in Canada, Australia, and South Africa, where gas prices are only slightly more expensive than in the US, and the built environment more-or-less the same with leafy middle-class suburbs and urban sprawl.

Here’s an interesting article I saw recently:


I’d like to see those charts adjusted for median annual household income, or something. Anyone?

Gas is actually more expensive up here in Alberta than it is down there in the States, and we’re the producers! (Sort of)

That’s what everyone is complaining about in my neck of the woods. We want it at $0.03/L, like they’ve got in Venezuela!

In what manner are you suggesting?

Look at it this way: assume that OPEC is the sole provider of oil (a simplification). There are costs with extraction. There is a limited amount of oil to be extracted and will some day run out. There is profit to be made by providing this resource. All of these go together in a reasonably free market to say that OPEC should charge a certain price. You and I may not like this price, but it’s the price they’re setting.

In a free market our choice is essentially “buy the product” or “don’t buy the product”. It gets a little more complex with the idea of refusing to trade our products with them, but I’m fairly sure that their product is more valuable than ours, especially considering that they can get copies of ours from China any day of the week.

There aren’t a lot of other options. Essentially what’s left is to take it by force, which is a no-no.

Yes, this is a possibility. The best way to do this is to figure out ways to use less gasoline. With reduced demand the price will fall. But if you’re using 1/10th the amount of gasoline you used to, you won’t care very much any more.

If I understand what I read in the business press these days, so far Canadians have been insulated against the worst effects of rising oil prices. We are a net oil exporter, so rising oil prices have until now brought more than they’ve taken away. Gasoline is more expensive, but many other things have become less expensive because of the rising Canadian dollar. Cars, for example.

However, this may be coming to an end. The linked report from the Toronto Star suggests that Canadian will soon experience sharply-higher inflation. Here’s another report that suggests that oil will go to $200 US per barrel in two years.

Food prices are starting to go up here as well.

We’re paying, at the current rate of exchange, $7.50 - $8.00 per gallon. What do we do? We whine about how 70% of that goes to the government as taxes.

If by “other countries” you mean “other than the USA”, you do realise that America gets pretty cheap gas compared to a lot of countries, right?

As far as the UK goes, the answer to your question appears to be “Increasing them even more by raising fuel tax.” (Up another £0.02 per litre from October. Cite.)

The cost varies but we have been lower than most for a long time. It is an indication that with our sliding economy ,we have lost a lot of influence.

I’m in Canada and it appears to be the same as America - people bitch about gas prices but refuse to change their lifestyle.

Other nations don’t experience the problem the same way we do. In general they use less gas and pay way more in taxes, so they’re accustomed to paying a lot for gas and finding alternatives. The high gas taxes help them develop public alternatives to car dependency.

from CNNMoney.com (emphasis mine)

I don’t live in South Africa anymore so I don’t know the details, but this sure looks familiar!

Trade union Solidarity has called on government to temporarily reduce fuel taxes.

Just for comparison, the price in that article works out to be about $4.78 per gallon based on today’s exchange rate. I remember it being about half that when I was there three years ago, so definitely a noticeable difference.

ISTR reading that most of those European gas taxes go to heavily subsidize public transportation (particularly rail & whatnot). We don’t have heavily-subsidized mass transit in the US, ergo, not much in the way of gas taxes (at least compared to Europe).

All this talk about changing our lifestyles is mostly a bunch of platitudes, TYVM. Much as I would dearly love to hop onto Springfield’s light rail to get to work, Springfield doesn’t have one. Much as I’d love to take a train to Indianapolis next weekend, it would entail going 200 miles out of my way north and would take six hours IF (and that’s a huge IF) the trains ran on time; I could drive there in three hours. Much as I’d like to plug in my car to noodle around town, Detroit (and for that matter, Osaka and Berlin and Paris and everywhere else autos are made) has yet to put ANY electric vehicles on any dealer’s lot near me, and even if they rushed their electric concept vehicles into production, the cheapest one I’ve seen is three times what I’m willing to pay for a new car. And much as I’d like to drive around in a minimalist car that gets 60+ mpg, no one is making those, either (excluding Smart cars which, for reasons that elude me, get half the mileage in the US that their European counterparts do).

In short, I would willingly do whatever it took to lessen my dependence on oil. But no one seems to be willing to accomodate me.

Requiring higher mileage, driving smaller cars, using public transportation are all easily attainable options Americans seem to reject.

If you live in the US, Canada or most of the rest of the OECD countries the price you pay for the actual gas does not vary too much as this price is being set on the various commodity markets. The tax does vary significantly however, as dopers in Europe have pointed out. Those countries with high taxes see less of a fluctuation in demand as the underlying price changes as this fluctuation is a smaller percentage of your gross cost at the pump.

In other countries, particular large crude producers the state refiner and gasoline retailer is often a subsidiary of the state crude production company. The producer is under no obligation to sell the crude to the refinery at the current WTI spot or future rate. they can , and may well be obligated to pass it over to the refinery for pennies, where it is refined and sold , at pennies. Now for sure they could have sold some of that crude at 120 bucks a bbl and made more money for the country or whoever, but the governments I would imagine have decided low gasoline prices are best for stability in the country.

Other issues can also control the internal price of crude, for example in Russia there is an issue of transport and crude quality. You could sell it for 120 on the world market, but you have to get the crude to the world market, in some places due to lack of transportation infrastructure, the oil is dumped at below market rates to the refineries who in turn sell cheap gasoline.
Government also controls exports through volume limits or duties which can keep the internal price down. Down here in Argentina the actual price of crude on the local market is about $45 a bbl. If you could export then you would pay significant amount of duty that would more or less wipe out your gain from selling it outside at a higher price.

Now if you are in a country which has no significant oil production and the government wants to keep gasoline prices low, they are pretty much have to either have the government subsidise the purchase of the crude (or refined gasoline) or rely on supplier countries to do you a big favour. Examples would be Chavez selling oil at below market rates to anyone who will pretend to be a friend, or in several cases Moslem supplier countries will give cut price or free oil to other Moslem countries. (Saudi and other donations to Jordan spring to mind)

So in summary, in other countries, the rise in the underlying price is either not noticed due to it being a smal part compared to teh tax burden, not noticed because oil is sold internaly at a lower market rate than the world price, or not noticed through government subsidies or donations.
The US retail price is probably the one the reflects the underlying price most accurately, hence is most sensitive to price fluctuations.

ETA actually I should probably take a stab at answering the question
What are other countries doing about high gas prices?
Or are they not as high elsewhere in relative terms?

I would say the price increases are not noticed as much as they are in the US, due to all the above reasons.

Well, you can cut your dependence on oil. But it makes no sense to demand that the alternatives to gasoline must be cheaper than gasoline. There’s a reason we use gasoline instead of electric, and that’s because a gasoline car is cheaper to build and operate than an electric car. Even when gas is $4.00/gallon, a gasoline car is still cheaper than an electric car. You can drive an alternative vehicle, but if that alternative vehicle were cheaper than a conventional car, it would be the conventional car and gasoline would be the alternative.

Even in Europe with sky-high gasoline+tax prices, people don’t drive electric cars. They drive gasoline (and diesel) cars, but they use them less, or they pay through the nose.

As gasoline prices rise, alternatives become more attractive. But the most likely alternative to a trip in a gasoline car isn’t a trip in an electric car, it’s no trip at all. Demand for gasoline isn’t going to lower from someone else in Detroit or Washington accomodating you, it’s going to be because 300 million people figure out 300 million ways to avoid buying so much gas. And the only reason they’re going to do that is because gas is so freaking expensive.

Sounds like you need a monorail.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Well, folks in the UK, at least, aren’t always completely resigned to high gas prices. Remember the fuel protesters from a few years back?

In protest at rising fuel costs, truckers used their vehicles to barricade every fuel depot in the country, so no tankers could get out. The country ground to a halt pretty quickly - well, OK, maybe “ground to a halt” overstating it, but it was certainly chaotic.

I don’t get it.

It’s the Simpsons’ Springfield that got the monorail in one episode.