Simanaitis Says

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CHEAP GAS—2016

THE U.S. CONTINUES to have the cheapest gasoline anywhere in the world I’d want to live. On July 18, 2016, Bloomberg.com offered “Gasoline Prices Around the World: The Real Cost of Filling Up.” I bring it to your attention for two reasons. Gasoline prices are something of interest to us all. And Bloomberg’s interactive graphics are exemplary in sharing this information.

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With a single screen of introduction and its interactive links, the Bloomberg piece presents a fascinating wealth of information. I share several of its tidbits here, but I also encourage you to enjoy the information technology at Bloomberg.com.

To justify my opening comment, I note the Bloomberg study’s average price of gasoline in the U.S. is $2.57/gal. Indeed, 11 other countries have less expensive gasoline. In decreasing price per gallon, they’re Columbia ($2.44), Pakistan ($2.32), Indonesia ($2.23), Russia ($2.15), Nigeria ($1.94), United Arab Emirates ($1.80), Malaysia ($1.57), Iran ($1.49), Saudi Arabia ($0.91), Kuwait ($0.88) and Venezuela ($0.02). I’m happy to pay $2.57.

The Bloomberg report gives details on data collection and methodology. Its interactive graphics identify two other metrics beyond price: affordability and income spent.

Affordability measures the percentage of a day’s average wage in each country spent buying a gallon of gasoline there. Related to this, income spent takes into account the average number of miles driven annually in each country.

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Gasoline prices, light blue rankings 1-13 least expensive; dark blue, 49-61 most expensive.

Bloomberg.com’s interactivity is superb: At the website, place the cursor and identify the country, its price per gallon and overall ranking. For example that dark-blue dot in northern South America is French Guiana, an overseas department of France.

Each of 61 countries can be specified, and the report’s interactivity gives a capsule summary of this country’s data, including its overall rankings.

The U.S. has already been cited as placing number 12 in gasoline price. This inexpensive fuel and strength of the U.S. economy place it number 3 in affordability. On the other hand, high annual mileages in the U.S. rank it number 47 in income spent. As others in the world note, the U.S. is profligate in its personal mobility.

Venezuela is an outlier of data in all three categories: Its government-controlled fuel price of $0.02/gal. places it number 1 in price, affordability and income spent.

However, the country is not without serious economic problems. And, indeed, this year its President Nicolas Maduro felt the need to raise pump prices 6000 percent (that is, a 120-fold increase). Nevertheless, at the resulting $0.02/gal., as noted by Bloomberg, “… filling up a tank of gas still costs less than a cup of coffee.”

Norway is another fascinating case. Its gasoline price of $6.53/gal. ranks number 60 on the list. Only Hong Kong exceeds this at $7.12/gal. Though Norway’s strong economy is built on North Sea oil, the proceeds go to national services such as free college education, not to reducing gasoline price.

Indeed, because of Norway’s government priorities and incentives, it has the largest proportion of electric vehicles in the world. The Bloomberg report ranks Norway number 10 in affordability and number 8 in income spent.

Japan ranks toward the middle of gasoline prices, number 27 at $4.46/gal. An affluent nation, it’s number 14 in affordability. An average driver uses 114.12 gallons annually, again placing it mid-pack in income spent, number 34.

A curious fact: Bloomberg reports that Japan now has more public battery chargers than gas stations. I suspect in time it’ll have plenty of hydrogen stations for its emerging fuel-cell fleets from Honda and Toyota.

Thus far, I’ve only performed a bit of data mining in the Bloomberg report. But consider the nuggets already discovered! ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2016

One comment on “CHEAP GAS—2016

  1. Mike B
    July 21, 2016

    Bloomberg probably doesn’t dive below national- (or perhaps state-) level averages. But there can be a wide variations in actual pump prices. A recent trip had me filling up at Arco stations (regular gas) near Santa Barbara, Los Banos, Sacramento, and Bakersfield. Prices varied from about 2.30 to 2.90/gal, lowest in the north. Yes, wages are generally higher in LA and Santa Barbara than in the Central Valley, but so are other costs so I suspect the high prices there (the $2.90 end of the range) are definitely less affordable. Other name brands were generally 30-50c higher per gallon – oink!

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