Gas prices in the United States continue soaring to record highs, driven by the increasing cost of oil and demand for gasoline outpacing the global supply, AAA says.
Though the high cost at home is top of mind for many people, some social media posts are claiming prices in other countries are much higher.
A VERIFY viewer sent the team a graphic shared online, asking if the U.S. really has lower gas prices than these eight other places around the world.
VERIFY reader Devin also asked if it’s true that gas prices are higher in some European countries compared to the U.S.
Are U.S. gas prices lower than these eight other places around the world?
- Global Petrol Prices
- U.S. Department of Energy
- U.S. Energy Information Administration
- Tax Foundation
- Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy
- Ed Hirs, University of Houston Energy Fellow
Yes, U.S. gas prices are lower than these eight other places around the world.
WHAT WE FOUND
The graphic sent to VERIFY lists gas prices in eight different places around the world: Hong Kong, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Israel, Germany and France. Global Petrol Prices compiles the average price of gasoline per gallon in U.S. dollars for most of the countries in the world, and its data is current as of June 6.
Here is the average price of gas per gallon for the eight areas included in the social media post as of June 6, according to Global Petrol Prices:
- Hong Kong: $11.21
- Norway: $10.82
- Denmark: $10.32
- Sweden: $9.33
- Netherlands: $9.11
- Israel: $8.30
- Germany: $7.89
- France: $8.57
For comparison, the average gas price in the U.S. is about $4.96 per gallon as of June 8, according to AAA.
So it’s true that many industrialized countries, including those highlighted in the online post, have higher gas prices than the U.S. But why is that the case?
Global Petrol Prices explains that, as a general rule, “richer countries have higher prices [for gasoline] while poorer countries and the countries that produce and export oil have significantly lower prices.” The U.S. is an exception to this rule, though, since it is economically advanced but has low gas prices compared to similar industrialized countries. This is due in large part to lower fuel taxes.
Many countries – particularly those in Europe – have higher taxes on fuel than those in the U.S., Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy and University of Houston Energy Fellow Ed Hirs told VERIFY. European countries “tend to tax petroleum fuels at the highest level globally,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The federal fuel tax in the U.S. is 18.3 cents per gallon and the total for state gasoline taxes averages about 31 cents, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That means the average American pays about 49 cents total in gas taxes, though some people might pay more if their state taxes are higher.
But, for countries in the European Union, the minimum tax on gasoline is significantly higher at $1.55 per gallon – and the gas tax in some countries is nearly double that amount.
The most recent data available from the DOE show gas taxes are higher than $3 per gallon in the Netherlands and Israel, and more than $2 per gallon in Germany, France, Belgium and Denmark.
The Netherlands has the highest gas tax in the European Union, followed by Italy, Finland and Greece, the Tax Foundation reports.
In Hong Kong, which is not technically a country but a city and special administrative region of China, nearly 40% of drivers’ price at the pump goes to the government in the form of a fuel tax, Eric Ng reported for the South China Morning Post in April 2020.
Countries in the European Union have lost a major source of oil and gasoline since they have banned imports from Russia amid the country’s ongoing war with Ukraine, Hirs explained. About 60% of Russia’s oil exports go to countries within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Europe, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The loss of Russian oil has led European countries to import more of it from other areas, including the U.S.
Inflation in the 19 countries that use the euro hit a record high in May 2022, and energy prices jumped more than 39%, the Associated Press reports.
Britain’s inflation rate also rose to its highest level in 40 years in April 2022, as the war in Ukraine led to further increases in fuel prices. Gas in the United Kingdom is approximately $8.33 per gallon.
Though the U.S. has cheaper gas prices than many other countries, it’s not the most inexpensive by any means. Gas costs less than $1 per gallon in Venezuela, Libya and Iran, and dozens of other countries offer gas for less than $4 per gallon, according to Global Petrol Prices data.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.