“Finland has produced so many brilliant distance runners because back home it costs $2.50 a gallon for gas.” Esa Tikkannen, 1979
“It’s better to have beer in hand than gas in tank.” Unknown
Some people would say petrol prices are one of the highest outgoings from their budget – but this isn’t the case universally. So what causes this?
The differences in gas prices across countries are due to the various taxes and subsidies for gasoline. All countries have access to the same petroleum prices in international markets, but then decide to impose different taxes. In some cases, like Venezuela, the government even subsidises gasoline and therefore people there pay close to nothing to drive their cars.
So, assuming you have a 60 liter car, the cost of one tank will vary considerably. A tank of petrol in Venezuela would buy you a candy bar ($0.60). A tank of petrol in Norway, the most expensive on the list, would get you a weekend holiday ($153). In China you could get an IPod ($81). In the UK you could get a family trip to the capital ($129). And finally in the USA, you could get dinner for two in a mid range restaurant ($58).
In fact production of gas is relatively the same universally. The crude oil, which is a mixture of hundreds of liquids of different boiling points is put into a huge column and heated from the bottom. The liquids with the lowest boiling points rise up the column and are collected from the upper regions. Other liquids are collected part way down and heavy oils are collected from the bottom. Tar is found to collect at the base of the column. Petrol is one of the low boiling liquids that are collected near the top. So in fact savings could be made from more efficient production processes, like updating their equipment.
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Siobhan R.// SMC Editor