Rising Gas Prices: Countries With the Most and Least Expensive Gas
The price of gas has fallen for seven straight weeks, and the national per-gallon average is finally under $4 — $3.918 as of Aug. 19. Only California and Hawaii remain above $5, and it’s less than $4 in almost every Southern and Midwest state.
That’s welcome news for millions of Americans who were suffering from the highest gas prices in U.S. history — while every other developed country on Earth played the world’s smallest violin.
This may surprise you, but according to the Los Angeles Times, drivers in every other advanced country in the world pay more at the pump than their American counterparts, including during the June peak when prices breached $5 in the U.S.
Across much of Europe and Asia, drivers pay more than $8 per gallon, even when things are good. Prices in the U.S., on the other hand, are closer to those in developing countries like El Salvador, Zambia, Liberia and Rwanda.
Here’s a look at the highest highs and the lowest lows at gas stations across the globe.
- $11.28 per gallon
Gas in Hong Kong costs more than double what American drivers paid even when prices were at a historic high earlier in the summer. Even so, motorists there spend just 0.52% of their salaries on gas compared to 2.16% in the U.S. That, according to the L.A. Times, is because travel distances are much shorter in Hong Kong.
The South China Morning Post reports that the cost of land on which gas stations are built in Hong Kong increased 400% in the 2010s, which pushed the price per gallon into double-digits.
- $9.37 per gallon
According to the Iceland Monitor, gas prices reached a new record on the Nordic island this spring. Fuel costs were already steep there, but the war in Ukraine sent gas prices to new highs. Like its European neighbors, Iceland relies on Russia for 30% of its oil.
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Central African Republic
- $9.10 gallon
Just as in Iceland, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is to blame for most of the sky-high gas prices in the Central African Republic. Fuel costs there are the highest on the continent, but according to Deutsche Welle, much of Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing fuel-induced economic turmoil, too. Prices in Zimbabwe, Senegal and Burundi aren’t far behind.
Adding to the crisis is the fact that all four oil refineries in Nigeria — Africa’s biggest oil exporter — aren’t currently working.
- $8.85 per gallon
According to Barbados Today, all countries have access to oil at the same price on the international market, but retail prices change from place to place because of taxes and subsidies. This is the case in Barbados, which has the highest gas prices in the Caribbean and all of Latin America, although costs are nearly as steep in Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and St. Lucia.
- $8.84 per gallon
The price of gas shot up over $10 per gallon in Norway this June, right around the time the average topped $5 in the U.S. According to Bloomberg, Norway is the biggest oil producer not only in the Nordic region, but in all of Europe. The high prices have been good for the national oil industry, but the tradeoff was a population squeezed by both food inflation and fuel inflation at the same time, just like the U.S.
- $0.08 per gallon
According to NPR, Venezuela sits atop the largest crude oil reserves in the world. Even so, the U.S. couldn’t have turned to the South American country to make up for the supply it lost from Russia this past year. The U.S. doesn’t recognize Venezuela’s current government and considers its leader to be a corrupt and illegitimate dictator.
On top of that, Venezuela lost 80% of its economic production over the last eight years as the country cratered into societal dysfunction defined by decaying infrastructure, nonexistent social services and widespread shortages of food, fuel and medicine.
On the bright side, gas there is the cheapest in the world — when you can get it.
- $0.12 per gallon
In 2019, Reuters reported that Libya still had some of the cheapest gas in the world despite eight years of chaos and violence following Muammar Gaddafi’s killing in 2011. Much of the turmoil has been over control of the country’s oil — Libya has the largest reserves in Africa — but the commodity in the shortest supply was water.
Public services and infrastructure were in shambles from war and neglect, and clean water was scarce. In May 2022, the Libya Review reported that gasoline had officially become cheaper than bottled water.
- $0.20 per gallon
According to Iran International, the history of subsidized fuel in Iran dates back to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Iran is a major oil-producing country, and cheap fuel is both a public expectation and a point of national pride. The ever-growing fuel subsidy has long been unmanageable, and now the government has been forced to raise prices, which is aggravating both social unrest and rising inflation.
Longstanding international sanctions have crippled the country economically, and rising fuel prices are only fanning the flames.
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International gas prices are accurate as of Aug. 1, 2022.