Gas at $3.30

I am reading today that the price of a gallon of fuel at American service stations has hit a “record” of $3.303. Now, that must seem a lot to American consumers, used to cheap gas. To put this in perspective, using an exchange rate to the euro of $1.57 and seeing that there are 4.54609 litres per gallon, a $3.303 per gallon amounts to €0.46 per litre. The average price of fuel in Ireland right now is around €1.20 per litre. Put another way, that would be $8.56 per gallon. In the UK, the price is averaging around £1.06 per litre. Or a whopping $9.63 per gallon.

The bottom line: American gas is cheap. Very cheap.

The consequences for the world are stark too. Cheap fuel means consumers are encouraged to drive gas guzzlers. The fuel efficiency of American cars is extremely low, on average, by international standards. Cheap fuel doesn’t encourage the switch to less carbon-intensive usage, which is bad for the environment. And it leaves American oil consumption per capita way ahead of other nations. That exposes them to oil scares and fuel insecurity. Which leads to their leaders invading Iraq to secure access to oil. Etc, etc.

So next time, if you’re American, don’t shudder at the thought of $3.30 gas. Shudder at the thought of people dying to fuel your obsessions with cheap travel and big cars.

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