$4 Gas? What a Bargain! (And, No, We're Not Kidding)

The cost of gas in Washington DCAccording to a recent Gallup poll, most Americans say that if the price of gasoline gets up to somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 to $6 a gallon, they're going to have to make "major" changes in lifestyle. Driving less, certainly. Buying an electric car, maybe. Shopping less -- definitely.

Well, get ready to make a change, America. In some states -- Hawaii, California, Alaska, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. -- prices have already touched the $4 mark. In many other communities, with gas prices hitting an average of $3.81 a gallon nationally, it looks like change is at hand.

How much worse could it get? Quite a bit, actually.

Crude Awakening

In Europe, market researcher Drive Alive! reports that standard "95 petrol" averages 5.78 euros per gallon. That sounds bad, but a single euro is worth about $1.31 these days, so the price in dollars is even worse: $7.56.

Prices range from a low of $6.24 in Hungary (what a bargain!) to as high as $9.36 in Norway.

Even when you consider that 95 octane would be considered a "premium" gas here in the U.S., that's pretty pricey. Turns out, the only place in the entire world where gas costs more than Norway is Asmara, Eritrea. (Since you asked, gas goes for $9.58 a gallon there.)

America's Priciest Pumps

Things haven't gotten that bad for us in the U.S. (yet). But some states and cities are working hard to catch up to Europe (and Eritrea). According to ABC News, Californian cities occupy 17 of the top 18 slots on a list of America's most expensive places to purchase gas. Chalk this up to the state's stringent antipollution laws and the curious fuel blends the state requires refineries to produce for them to cut down on smog.

Here's a run-down of the major culprits (and one outlier), based on a gas price survey conducted late last month:
* Santa Barbara -- $4.35
* San Francisco -- $4.35
* Los Angeles -- $4.33
* San Diego -- $4.32
* Ventura -- $4.31
* Orange County -- $4.31
* Riverside -- $4.29
* San Jose -- $4.28
* San Bernardino -- $4.28
* Oakland -- $4.28
* Bakersfield -- $4.28
* Salinas -- $4.26
* Fresno -- $4.20
* Stockton -- $4.20
* Sacramento -- $4.20
* Honolulu HI -- $4.20
* Modesto -- $4.19
* Chico -- $4.18

They say that misery loves company. So... feel better now?




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Doug

ALSO! what people failed to tell you is that Europe is not as spread out as the USA. for instance, Frankfurt to Paris= 6 hrs or 4 hours by train!
The town's are a lot closer together that we are here in the states.
The Bus and rail system is in FAR better shape that we have here in the USA.
The taxes make up more that 55% of their wages and the health care is NOT FREE!!!
They all have health care BECAUSE they have no choice, it is deducted from their income!
We at least still have a little bit to say about our income, so don't give that away.
We can still choose what level of health care we want and how much we are willing to pay.
They don't, my father in law died waiting for a bypass!! They stated that there was a waiting line of 6 month's!!!!

March 26 2012 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug

WHY doesn't our government step in and put a price cap on the cost of fuel?
Come on, we heard the Gas companies boasting about their outrageous quarterly profit's and what has the government done to stop this? NOTHING.
it is obvious that when the gas prices are stable and at around $2. 50 a gallon, the economy would be right back to pre-Katrina and we wouldn't be in this mess.
We can only take so much!
What happened back in the 70's? We did it then!
The price of fuel is directly related to this inflation, the more diesel cost's, the more we pay at the register!
The more gasoline cost's, the less we have to spend. AND that equal's inflation!
WAKE UP!!!

March 26 2012 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maloontransllc

It seems there are alot of great points here. I just wonder why on earth would no one want to stop this now before its to late ? There is not a supply and demand issue at the moment. It is driving the economy off the cliff again I can see it happening before my eyes as we in the trucking industry are seeing the tonnage drop in a big way just in the last 3 weeks alone. There pie charts and grafs on wall st wont show this until its too late.. been in this business for 30 years and each time I have seen this there are alot of people scratching there heads like what just happened.. This time will be really ugly though as we have not even begun to get back on our feet as a nation...

March 20 2012 at 11:18 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to maloontransllc's comment
theycallmeroy3

They are plenty on the street who know exactly what's going on. Can't ever underestimate that. What's in question is the average persons ability to understand all the moving pieces at once.
Example, you think supply and demand is not an issue. Supply and demand is always an issue.

March 20 2012 at 11:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
goldaxe

Oil robber barrons,speculators,and terrorists are doing very well.Ahmadinajad can nasty in his pants,and the speculators would bid oil up $5 A brl.Some people still think its supply,and demand....HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

March 19 2012 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to goldaxe's comment
bggdg

Some others are dumb enough to be incapable of comprehending that speculation IS part of supply and demand.

March 20 2012 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bggdg's comment
goldaxe

DUGHHHH!Which part is speculation....supply, or demand.........Which way did he go? george which way did he go?HA HA HA HA HA!

March 20 2012 at 1:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
bggdg

Buying, whether it is speculative or not is demand, and selling, whether it is speculative or not is supply.

Perhaps a lesson on the color of grass is also in order, although it probably wouldn't be any more useful than your supply and demand lesson

After all, you just can't fix stupid!

March 20 2012 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
goldaxe

Oil robber barrons,speculators,and terrorists are doing very well.Ahmadinajad can nasty in his pants,and the speculators would bid oil up $5 A brl.Some people still think its supply,and demand....HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

March 19 2012 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
white41990

Looks like this world enjoys being in recession, your not going to get the consumer confidence a healthy economy needs to increase consumer spending with a deregulated market and low interest rates that don't reward the saver to allow bigger spending in the future, which only means more job loss on the way. Want to see 1.259 gas again, the first thing needed is higher interest rates at least 5.5% to curb inflation and increase the dollar against other foreign currencies, followed by regulation on the futures market we once had until just after the California energy crisis in 2001 followed by the collapse of Enron, that clearly stated that to legally invest in the futures market you must physically own your investment before investing in it to make a profit. But since congress in 2001 were lobbied by corporate energy CEOs and paid millions under the table to deregulate and allow trading on the futures market without owning your initial investment and congress as you can see did it, were all screwed until we can see it reversed which I doubt will happen anytime soon, but for the time being we can at least get rid of that Federal Reserve man Ben Bernake who doesn't see the cons of low interest rates on top of Quantitative easing, which don't carry ANY long term benefits as they both bring hyper inflation as you can see starts at the pump.

March 19 2012 at 10:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to white41990's comment
bggdg

Where do the dumb ones come from who beleive the flying pig tales that prior to 2001, investors had to legally physically own a commodity to investment in futures?

Mars, perhaps?

March 20 2012 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to bggdg's comment
theycallmeroy3

Bernake's term doesn't end until 2014. And Obama wouldn't risk a market gyration. Even if Romney won, he said he wouldn't replace him until his term ends. Usually large sustained oil spikes are followed by recession.

March 20 2012 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to theycallmeroy3's comment
theycallmeroy3

Dang! Bernanke.

March 20 2012 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
yigal

Join me to bring the gasoline price to $2.00 a gallon within less than six months.

March 19 2012 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yigal's comment
bggdg

You're doin one helluva job so far!

March 19 2012 at 8:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
goobs150

I wonder why they never talk about how much the gas profit margin is at 4.00 dollars a gallon with a barrel of oil only at 106 dollars. In 2008 when gas was at 4.11, the price of a barrel of oil was 147 dollars a barrel. Besides the fact that for each penny that gas goes up it takes 1.4 billion dollars out of the economy. We know what the end result will be just like in 2008 when it all crashes again.

March 19 2012 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to goobs150's comment
bggdg

Profit margins of oil companies are publicly available information. Stock analysts and others talk about them endlessly.

For thsoe of you who apparently don't listen, on average oil company profit margins are below the typical S&P 500 industry sector.

March 19 2012 at 8:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
goobs150

I wonder why they never talk about how much the gas profit margin is at 3,72 dollars a gallon with a barrel of oil only at 106 dollars. In 2008 when gas was at 4.11, the price of a barrel of oil was 147 dollars a barrel. Besides the fact that for each penny that gas goes up it takes 1.4 billion dollars out of the economy. We know what the end result will be just like in 2008 when it all crashes again.

March 19 2012 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
goobs150

I wonder why they never talk about how much the gas profit margin is at 3,72 dollars a gallon with a barrel of oil only at 106 dollars. In 2008 when gas was at 4.11, the price of a barrel of oil was 147 dollars a barrel. Besides the fact that for each penny that gas goes up it takes 1.4 billion dollars out of the economy. We know what the end result will be just like in 2008 when it all crashes again.

March 19 2012 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply