Gasoline is an essential part of the modern world, helping to power industry and move just about everything, including people, products, and raw materials. Wars and crises have been centered around oil over the years. The 1973 oil embargo crisis, for example, caused gas shortages in the U.S. and worldwide and oil prices to skyrocket, disrupting the global economy.
The recent hack of the Colonial Pipeline that caused shortages in the U.S. East Coast reminded us that shortages aren’t necessarily a thing of the past — even if the U.S. has become less reliant on foregin oil in the decades since.
And just like the price of gas differs from one U.S. state to the next, the price of gasoline can differ dramatically from country to country around the globe. In some oil-rich nations, such as Saudi Arabia, governments subsidize fuel. In other nations, oil can be hard to access, or it is heavily taxed, or expensive due to geopolitical conflicts.
To identify the countries with the most expensive gas, 24/7 Wall St. relied on gas prices per liter obtained on Aug. 24, 2021 from Numbeo — an online database of user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. We used data for 109 countries with sufficient numbers of contributors and then converted to price per gallon. Numbeo aggregates data for countries in real time so it may change faster than government data sets. Population figures came from the World Bank and are for 2020.
By far, most of the countries on this list are European, including all Nordic nations, which rank among the top 15. Island nations Japan and New Zealand also rank on the list. South America and Africa are among the least represented on the list, while no country from North America made the list. The U.S. does not rank on the list, having the 86th highest gas price among the 109 countries considered.
While substantial effort is underway to move to more sustainable power sources, our world is still very much dependent on gasoline. For a range of hybrids and EVs, check out the most eco-friendly cars on the market.
Rising fuel prices also substantially affect prices across the economy. Nearly every good is transported using gasoline, from raw materials to end products. In 2020, the U.S. industrial sector accounted for 36% of total U.S. end-use energy consumption, according to the Energy Information Administration. So when the price of oil goes up, it causes other prices to also increase.
While supply wars between oil-rich nations and the COVID-19 pandemic last year contributed to a sharp decline in oil prices, prices have since recovered. The pandemic has further exasperated supply chains and caused many prices to fluctuate. Check out 20 groceries driving up your food bill the most during the pandemic.
Click here to see countries with the most expensive gas this summer
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