We (Still) Got It Good and That Ain’t Bad

Many years ago – probably around 1950 – the family drove to Florida for a visit with my grandparents. Somewhere in South Carolina we stopped for gas and, when my father got back in the car after paying, he was sure we had been cheated. “That fill-up cost $5.09,” he said. “They must have rigged the pumps, because I’ve never paid five bucks for a tank of gas in my life!” I wonder how my dad would feel if he knew it now costs me $65 to fill up my Toyota!

Apropos of that, I recently came across a graph showing what folks in other countries are now paying to fill up their Toyotas. It won’t reproduce here, but I can give you some of the highlights.

As of this past June, Americans were paying an average of $4.00 per gallon for regular gas. Here’s what people in other countries were paying at that same time, shown in U.S. dollars.

Japan – 4.72
South Africa – 4.79
Canada – 5.09
Spain – 7.30
Czech Rep. – 7.99
England – 8.71
France – 8.78
Germany – 8.98
Netherlands – 10.05

By far, the biggest factor affecting the price of gasoline in every country is government tax. In the U.S., that tax averages 49-cents a gallon. Across Europe, the per-gallon tax ranges from $3.37 to $5.57.

Question: What the hell are we belly-aching about?