Even as gas prices in the U.S. ease off the peaks reached in 2022, Americans like to grumble about what we’re paying at the pump. But a look at gas prices around the world indicates that, well, things could be worse.
GlobalPetrolPrices.com, an energy data tracking company, puts U.S. gas prices in the bottom half of a global measure. And we pay the least for gasoline of any economically advanced country.
Have a look at how the U.S. compares with other countries, and then we’ll discuss what factors contribute to differences between nations.
|Country||Price as of Nov. 21 in USD per gallon||Header Cell - Column 2||Header Cell - Column 3|
|Australia||$4.33||Row 0 - Cell 2||Row 0 - Cell 3|
|Belgium||$7.30||Row 1 - Cell 2||Row 1 - Cell 3|
|Benin||$3.85||Row 2 - Cell 2||Row 2 - Cell 3|
|Brazil||$3.57||Row 3 - Cell 2||Row 3 - Cell 3|
|Canada||$5.08||Row 4 - Cell 2||Row 4 - Cell 3|
|China||$4.74||Row 5 - Cell 2||Row 5 - Cell 3|
|Denmark||$7.59||Row 6 - Cell 2||Row 6 - Cell 3|
|France||$6.83||Row 7 - Cell 2||Row 7 - Cell 3|
|Finland||$7.72||Row 8 - Cell 2||Row 8 - Cell 3|
|Germany||$6.99||Row 9 - Cell 2||Row 9 - Cell 3|
|Greece||$8.00||Row 10 - Cell 2||Row 10 - Cell 3|
|Hong Kong||$11.81||Row 11 - Cell 2||Row 11 - Cell 3|
|Iceland||$9.47||Row 12 - Cell 2||Row 12 - Cell 3|
|India||$5.09||Row 13 - Cell 2||Row 13 - Cell 3|
|Ireland||$7.91||Row 14 - Cell 2||Row 14 - Cell 3|
|Israel||$8.70||Row 15 - Cell 2||Row 15 - Cell 3|
|Italy||$6.54||Row 16 - Cell 2||Row 16 - Cell 3|
|Japan||$4.36||Row 17 - Cell 2||Row 17 - Cell 3|
|Jordan||$6.16||Row 18 - Cell 2||Row 18 - Cell 3|
|Kuwait||$1.29||Row 19 - Cell 2||Row 19 - Cell 3|
|Madagascar||$5.16||Row 20 - Cell 2||Row 20 - Cell 3|
|Malawi||$6.45||Row 21 - Cell 2||Row 21 - Cell 3|
|Mexico||$4.65||Row 22 - Cell 2||Row 22 - Cell 3|
|Mozambique||$5.15||Row 23 - Cell 2||Row 23 - Cell 3|
|Netherlands||$7.57||Row 24 - Cell 2||Row 24 - Cell 3|
|Norway||$7.93||Row 25 - Cell 2||Row 25 - Cell 3|
|Pakistan||$3.80||Row 26 - Cell 2||Row 26 - Cell 3|
|Poland||$5.49||Row 27 - Cell 2||Row 27 - Cell 3|
|Qatar||$2.18||Row 28 - Cell 2||Row 28 - Cell 3|
|Russia||$3.22||Row 29 - Cell 2||Row 29 - Cell 3|
|Saudi Arabia||$2.35||Row 30 - Cell 2||Row 30 - Cell 3|
|Sierra Leone||$4.39||Row 31 - Cell 2||Row 31 - Cell 3|
|Singapore||$7.31||Row 32 - Cell 2||Row 32 - Cell 3|
|Sweden||$6.95||Row 33 - Cell 2||Row 33 - Cell 3|
|Turkey||$4.08||Row 34 - Cell 2||Row 34 - Cell 3|
|Ukraine||$5.15||Row 35 - Cell 2||Row 35 - Cell 3|
|United Kingdom||$7.35||Row 36 - Cell 2||Row 36 - Cell 3|
|United States||$3.90||Row 37 - Cell 2||Row 37 - Cell 3|
|Zimbabwe||$3.76||Row 38 - Cell 2||Row 38 - Cell 3|
|Prices are from GlobalPetrolPrices.com and reflect the cost of premium-grade gasoline||Row 39 - Cell 1||Row 39 - Cell 2||Row 39 - Cell 3|
Gas taxes are a big factor
So, why? Chiefly, taxes. While in the U.S. these vary considerably by state (and we’ve tracked the 10 states with the highest gas taxes as well as the lowest), on balance, gasoline taxes in the U.S. are low on a global scale. And again, among industrialized countries (the 38 members of the OECD (opens in new tab)) only Mexico has lower fuel taxes.
Nevin Valev, owner of GlobalPetrolPrices, says the U.S.’s low rate reflect Americans need – and desire – to drive long distances, and the political unpopularity of higher taxes. The summer price surge of 2022, for example, led to a variety of gas tax holidays or suspensions by a range of states.
On the other hand, smaller countries like Denmark and the Netherlands collect gas taxes so high that they are well in excess of what’s needed to maintain roads – they’re used for other government spending, or to discourage consumption.
The U.S. dollar’s effect is significant
But taxes aren’t the only story. Currencies matter, too. Fuel is traded in U.S. dollars. So if a country’s currency weakens against the dollar (as, for example, the UK pound has in recent years), oil – and hence gasoline – becomes more expensive in that country – even if there’s been no change in the basic price of oil.
Those are, of course, oil-producing countries that can more easily subsidize domestic gasoline prices when oil prices are high. While the U.S. is an oil producer – and exporter – as well, it does not engage in this sort of market fiddling, with the exception of releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And in European countries with oil such as the United Kingdom and Norway, fossil fuels used domestically are heavily taxed.
In his current role as Senior Online Editor, David edits and writes a wide range of content for Kiplinger.com. With more than 20 years of experience with Kiplinger, he has worked on and written for a range of its publications, including The Kiplinger Letter and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. He is a co-host of Your Money's Worth, Kiplinger's podcast and has helped develop the Economic Forecasts feature.
- Elaine SilvestriniSenior Retirement Editor, Kiplinger.com
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