- President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have fallen as gas prices and inflation soar.
- Energy analysts say oil prices, not Biden’s or their policies, are responsible for higher gas prices.
- Gas prices are higher than the United States in 93 countries.
WASHINGTON – Five dollar gallons of gas isn’t a good deal in the United States, but it’s a bargain in other parts of the world.
Drivers in Hong Kong pay more than $ 11 per gallon at the pump. Filling in Finland costs more than $ 10 per gallon. In Iceland, Norway, Greece, Denmark, the Netherlands, Monaco and the Central African Republic, the price of petrol is $ 9 per gallon.
In fact, compared to the rest of the world, the US is in the middle of the pack when it comes to gas prices – inflation takes its toll on the American economy. According to an analysis by GlobalPetrolPrices.com, prices are higher in 93 countries and cheaper in 74 other countries, which track the retail prices of motor fuel worldwide.
This is not much of a consolation for President Joe Biden, whose approval ratings have fallen as petrol prices have risen and inflation soared. In March, Quinnipiac University surveyed four out of 10 Americans blaming Biden and his policies for high gas prices.
But fuel analysts say the price of oil is driving gas prices around the world and at home, Neither Biden nor his policies. How could the President of the United States be responsible for the $ 8-a-gallon gas in France?
Christopher Knittel, an energy economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said “there is no real impact on world oil prices.”
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According to the AAA, Biden has taken several steps to help Americans compensate for gas prices, which averaged $ 4.94 a gallon nationwide on Thursday but $ 5 a gallon in more than a dozen states, according to the AAA.
Biden released 180 million gallons of oil from the nation’s emergency reserves, called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months, and sought to encourage energy companies to boost oil production.
On Thursday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm held an emergency meeting with executives of seven major oil companies in Washington to explore solutions to sky-high gas prices.
Granholm reiterated Biden’s call to ensure that their companies were delivering savings to their customers and directed their team to continue working with companies to find solutions to supply and price challenges, their office said in a statement.
In reality, Biden cannot do much to reduce prices at the pump, Knittel said.
“The things they’ve already done and suggested are also short-term, minimal effects on gasoline prices,” he said. “It’s hard for Americans to look at it, but the world market is so big and so vast that it’s hard to have a big impact on prices, even for a big country and an economic powerhouse like ours.”
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Oil prices are affecting gas prices around the world, and crude oil prices have risen to $ 110 per barrel since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. When oil prices jump, “you see gas prices rising in every country, except for the fact that administratively they keep their prices at a predetermined level,” Knittel said.
Gas prices can vary widely around the world. But in general, rich countries have higher prices but poorer countries and countries producing and exporting oil have significantly lower prices, according to GlobalPetrolPrices.com.
Gas prices in the US are driven by the market. But in some countries, oil companies are state-owned, which provides fuel subsidies to reduce gas prices or prevent price fluctuations. In Venezuela, Iran and Libya, they all offer fuel subsidies, with gas prices less than $ 1 per gallon.
“Any country that sells gas for less than $ 2 per gallon is subsidized,” said Neven Valev, owner of GlobalPetrolProjects.
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Dirty-cheap gas prices may be good for consumers but can cause other problems. In Venezuela, “we’ll see how it goes for them,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analytics at GasBuddy, which tracks fuel prices. Infrastructure left and right has failed due to lack of revenue. When you charge low-market rates, it’s hard to keep up with the infrastructure.
Taxes are the biggest reason for the wide variation in global gas prices. In the United States, the federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon, and state gas taxes average 30 cents per gallon. So when motorists pay $ 5 per gallon in a tank, that cost is roughly 50 cents in taxes.
Many other countries impose high gas taxes. In Hong Kong, the gas tax is as high as $ 6 per gallon in an attempt to discourage people from driving. European Union countries have to impose a minimum excise tax of $ 1.55 per gallon, hoping to allow more people to take mass transit.
“They’re trying to keep cars off the road by preventing people from having a car,” De Haan said.
Although current gas prices are not biden, de Haan said his administration has exacerbated matters by de-energizing the energy industry and pursuing policies that limit oil production and inject uncertainty in energy markets.
“It doesn’t do anyone credit,” he said.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Follow him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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