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Gasoline prices have fallen for seven consecutive weeks, with the national average nearly back to $4-$4.01 a gallon as of August 10. Only California and Hawaii remained above $5, while the southern states and much of the Midwest remained below $4.
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This is good news for millions of Americans suffering from the highest oil prices in US history, while every other developed country on earth plays the world’s smallest fiddle.
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It may surprise you, but according to the Los Angeles Times, drivers in every other developed world pay more for gas than their US counterparts, including during the June peak when US gas prices topped $5.
In much of Europe and Asia, drivers pay over $8 a gallon even in good conditions. On the other hand, prices in the US are closer to those in developing countries such as El Salvador, Zambia, Liberia and Rwanda.
Even when prices were at record highs early in the summer, gas prices in Hong Kong were more than double the prices paid by American drivers. Yet motorists spend just 0.52% of their wages on gasoline compared to 2.16% in the US. According to the Los Angeles Times, this is because the distance to Hong Kong is much shorter.
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The South China Morning Post reported that in the 2010s, the cost of land to build a gas station in Hong Kong rose by 400%, pushing the price per gallon into double digits.
This spring, gas prices in the Scandinavian islands hit a new record, according to the Iceland Monitor. The cost of fuel there is already high, but the war in Ukraine has raised gas prices to new highs. Like its European neighbors, Iceland depends on Russia for 30 percent of its oil.
As in Iceland, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is largely responsible for sky-high gas prices in the Central African Republic. The cost of fuel there is the highest on the continent, but most of sub-Saharan Africa is also experiencing fuel-driven economic shocks, according to Germany. Prices in Zimbabwe, Senegal and Burundi are not far behind.
To make matters worse, all four refineries in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil exporter, are currently closed.
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According to Barbados Today, all countries have access to oil at the same price on the international market, but retail prices vary from place to place due to taxes and subsidies. This is the case in Barbados, where gas prices are the highest in the Caribbean and all of Latin America, although Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and St. Lucia cost nearly as much.
Natural gas prices in Norway topped $10 a gallon in June, while the average price in the US was over $5. According to Bloomberg, Norway is the largest oil producer not only in the Scandinavian region, but in all of Europe. High oil prices are good for the national oil industry, but at the cost of the population suffering from food and fuel inflation, as in the United States.
According to NPR, Venezuela has the largest reserves of crude oil in the world. However, the US cannot turn to the South American country to make up for the loss of supplies from Russia over the past year. The United States does not recognize the current government of Venezuela, claiming that its leader is a corrupt and illegitimate dictator.
On top of that, Venezuela has lost 80% of its economic output over the past eight years as the country mired in social dysfunction defined by aging infrastructure, a lack of social services, and widespread shortages of food, fuel and medicine.
In 2019, Reuters reported that despite eight years of chaos and violence since the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya still has the world’s cheapest natural gas. Much of the unrest was linked to the control of oil in the country – Libya has the world’s largest oil reserves. Africa, but the scarcest commodity is water.
Utilities and infrastructure are in disarray due to war and neglect, and clean water is in short supply. In May 2022, the Libyan Review reported that gasoline had officially become cheaper than bottled water.
Iran’s history of fuel subsidies dates back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, according to Iran International. Iran is a major oil producer, and cheap fuel is both a public expectation and a national pride. Rising fuel subsidies have long since spiraled out of control, and now the government is forced to raise prices, fueling social unrest and rising inflation.
Long-term international sanctions have weakened the country’s economy, and rising fuel prices are only fanning the fire.
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Post time: Aug-12-2022