Every year without fail, as the days get longer and warmer, gas prices begin to shoot up. Throw in intense turmoil in the Middle East, and the annual price skyrocket and accompanying fretting began even earlier this year. But while gas prices have risen to more than $3 a gallon in the United States, remember that gas here is still cheaper than many places–especially developed nations–around the world.
This infographic from Flowing Data shows where–according to gas price tables on Wikipedia–people are paying more or less than the U.S. average of $3.14 per gallon. The darker green a country is, the less its drivers are pay, while in the darker red countries, it costs more to fill up a tank than here.
What this map fails to explain is probably more interesting and important: What’s behind these differences in gas prices? Some of it is intuitive: Does a country produce a lot of oil? It’s probably cheaper to drive there than here, as you can see from the bright green swath of the Middle East and North Africa.
Countries with tightly controlled economies also have very cheap gas. In Venezuela–which also produces a lot of gas on its own–subsidies hold prices to less than 10 cents a gallon.
In Europe, gas prices are incredibly high, especially in Scandinavia, where all the prices are $7 a gallon or higher, due primarily to gas taxes that are much higher than we pay stateside.
Feeling pain at the pump? At least you can console yourself that, because your government is one of the few in the developed world that has chosen to keep gas taxes low, you’re actually paying less than all your neighbors. Gas might seem costly, but you could be paying Norway prices.MC