$43.52: That's what Americans now pay, on average, to fill a midsize car's 16-gallon tank, with prices for unleaded regular gasoline at $2.72 a gallon, according to AAA. All in all, it's been a relatively good summer for U.S. drivers as fuel costs continue to remain well below $3, even if they're still currently about 25 cents higher than a year ago.
And after Labor Day, Fred Rozell, director of Retail Pricing at the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), sees prices retreating from summer levels. Because crude prices remain relatively steady and the economy looks like it's "going to be in malaise for quite some time," Rozell says, "I would suspect after the hurricane season you'll see prices decrease. I don't think they'll get as low as $2, but they could get down to around $2.20 or $2.30."
Still, whether costs dip or not, gasoline is a downright bargain for Americans compared to what many of our overseas neighbors pay. Even in the Western U.S., where gas prices are now running at nearly $3.50 a gallon, they'd still be the envy of many drivers in big cities across the globe.
One Benefit of Living in Caracas
Take Asmara, Eritrea. Drivers in the East African nation's capital city pay $9.59 for a gallon of regular. You read that right. That's the highest price in any of the 34 cities surveyed by Associates for International Research (AIRINC), a Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm that provided new global gas price data exclusively to DailyFinance.
For $153.44 -- what it would cost you to fill a 16-gallon tank in Asmara -- you could buy a plane ticket, a week's worth of groceries or possibly pay the monthly note on a modestly priced car.
The second-most-expensive gas city was Oslo, Norway, where drivers pay an average of $7.41 a gallon. Copenhagen, Denmark, came in at No. 3 with an average of $6.89 a gallon.
On the flip side, you could get by on pocket change in Caracas, Venezuela, where a long-standing government fuel subsidy means drivers there are getting by on 6 cents a gallon. Tehran, Iran, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, are the next cheapest, with an average per-gallon price of 38 cents and 45 cents, respectively.
Why is there such a wide spread between Venezuela and Eritrea? Rozell explains: "Some countries want to try to encourage conservation and alternative fuels, so they might tax it. Others [like Venezuela] might want to subsidize it so that their people get cheaper fuel." Also, he notes, "In Europe they tend to tax a lot. That's why a lot of people don't have vehicles, and they have better mass transit."
Other price influences may include fuel-transport costs that may be tacked on for hard-to-reach areas or places without refineries.
Here's what a gallon of gas goes for in the 34 cities around the world that AIRINC surveyed:
(As of June 30, 2010)
1. Asmara, Eritrea | $9.59
2. Oslo, Norway | $7.41
3. Copenhagen, Denmark | $6.89
4. Hong Kong | $6.87
5. Berlin, Germany, and Monaco, Monte Carlo | $6.82
6. London, U.K. | $6.60
7. Rome, Italy | $6.44
8. Paris, France | $6.04
9. Sao Paulo, Brazil | $5.69
10. Seoul, Korea | $5.55
11. Tokyo, Japan | $5.40
12. Singapore, Singapore | $4.81
13. Nairobi, Kenya | $4.31
14. Mumbai, India | $4.25
15. Santiago, Chile | $4.18
16. Johannesburg, South Africa | $4.05
17. Sydney, Australia | $3.84
18. Toronto, Canada | $3.81
19. Beijing, China | $3.71
20. Bangkok, Thailand | $3.64
21. Buenos Aires, Argentina | $3.58
22. Havana, Cuba | $3.64
23. Karachi, Pakistan | $3.02
24. New York, U.S. | $2.85
25. Moscow, Russia | $2.80
26. Mexico City, Mexico | $2.45
27. Lagos, Nigeria $1.62
28. Dubai City, United Arab Emirates $1.57
29. Cairo, Egypt | $1.17
30. Kuwait, City, Kuwait | 85 cents
31. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | 45 cents
32. Tehran, Iran | 32 cents
33. Caracas, Venezuela | 6 cents
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