what comparative rates of gasoline taxes do we pay vs rest of world?

Wold-wide, it seems our gasoline prices are actually quite low. Certainly that’s true compared to Canada and Mexico, I believe. Probably the rest of the world, too. But a great deal of our per gallon price goes to various taxing bodies. What percentage goes to taxes here as opposed to other countries? FWIW, I heard 9th hand a claim that if we were to raise our gas taxes by one dollar per gallon, we could wipe out our national debt in a year. Dopers?

American gas taxes are much lower than they are in Europe or Japan- Generally, state and Federal taxes in the US average ~40 cents to the gallon (this various state to state of course) while in Japan the tax comes out at about $1.60 a gallon; European countries have taxes at about that rate as well.

Also, their is no way a tax raise on gasoline could wipe out the national debt in one year, no matter how high the tax. The national debt is 5-6 trillion dollars or so; the total GDP of the USA is about 10 trillion dollars,with the federal govenment already taking up almost 2 trillion of that. You would have to divert 60% of the American economy to pay off the debt in one year, which would be totally undoable- even in WWII, Govenment spending was about 50% of the economy.

Hmm. Surprisingly hard to find for the UK. Best I can do is this CSV file, which claims that from April 2002 all taxes (i.e. fuel duty plus Value Added Tax [VAT]) comprised 78% of the cost of a litre of 4-star leaded petrol (duty is 48.8p and VAT 11.6p as part of an assumed average total cost of 77.8p/litre). For unleaded fuel the figures are 76% (45.8p/11.2p/75p).

Conversions are not easy, remember that gasoline may be sold by liter rather than by gallon, and that prices vary from week to week or month to month.

But IS there a way to create a rough approximation? Can we say that in the U.S. a lower percentage of our gasoline prices are due to taxes than, say, in England? Can we compare these things internationally? Or are there simply too many variables? (Seems unlikely).

“But IS there a way to create a rough approximation?”

Yes, but why approximate. If you have the time you can calculate the difference exactly.

“Can we say that in the U.S. a lower percentage of our gasoline prices are due to taxes than, say, in England?”

Of course, by a wide margin. Read the posts above.

“Can we compare these things internationally?”

You certainly can. There is a world market price for oil, just as their is for gold, sugar, etc. Pretty much everybody pays the just about the same price for oil. The differences at the pump have to do with transporation, refining, marketing, and, most of all, taxes.

This should make things clearer.

i think in Canada, the tax rate is about 40% of the gas price is taxed (according to the Petro Canada)…

so our price now is about 75cents per liter.
about 30 cents per liter in tax…

so maybe $2.83 per gallon if the conversion is right.
$1.14 for the tax

This handy site from Shell Oil gives a table comparing pre and post tax petrol (gasoline to you Merkins) prices worldwide (note: the figures are in Australian dollars).

Australia has the cheapest pre-tax petrol in the world. Australia also has the cheapest post-tax petrol in the OECD, closely followed by the US and New Zealand.

Damn, sorry that link doesn’t go directly to the graph and I can’t get it to do so. When you open the link, simply click on the ‘World’ icon under the options heading and you will be taken straight to the graph.

The graph on the Shell site is a more recent version of the one I linked to. I can’t understand how they came up with their figures though since the current average price of unleaded in the US is $1.466 which is only 66 cents per litre.

Sorry, don’t ask, I should have realised that the graph I linked to was simply a newer version of the one you cited.

Is that 1.466 US/gallon? If so it may be the value of the Australian dollar that makes the difference (both graphs give figures in Australian dollars)

Ok, so now it’s time to rephrase the original question, since the dopers have refined it so well (no pun intended). The price of a gallon of galoline in the U.S. is considerably lower than in other countries. Is that due to lower taxes in the U.S., or are there other more significant factors?

It may be partly due to more efficient distribution (possible) and more effective competition among retailers (possible but less likely) but these factors are probably minor; it is largely due to taxes.

Have a look at the graph posted by both don’t ask and myself. It gives pre and post tax petrol prices and it makes it very obvious that the reason the US has cheap petrol is because the taxes are very low.