Thursday, August 30, 2012
NEW YORK — For all the complaints about gasoline prices, Americans spent 63 percent less at the pump in July than Norwegians did on a gallon of the fuel.
The U.S. ranked 49th of 60 countries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, with premium gasoline at $3.75 a gallon on July 23, compared with $10.12 in top-ranked Norway. The U.S. price was behind Japan, China and India, a country where people made 2.9 percent of what Americans earn.
Drivers in America, the biggest oil-consuming country, spend an average of 2.8 percent of their daily income on a gallon of gasoline, 55th in the ranking. In India, a gallon of premium gasoline cost 37 percent more than what a worker earned in one day. In Norway, which has the second-highest income behind Luxembourg in the list, a gallon cost 3.7 percent of a day’s wages. U.S. prices dropped 11 percent from three months earlier as domestic oil production reached a 13-year high.
“One of the reasons that Americans are able to use so much gasoline is because it’s relatively cheap,” said industry official Peter Schiff. “A lot of Americans commute long distance to work. In a lot of other countries gas is a luxury and they maybe just take the car out for a drive on a Sunday.”
Premium gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, advanced 3.1 cents to $4.073 a gallon on Aug. 28, up 15 percent this year, according to Heathrow, Fla.-based AAA, the largest U.S. motoring group.
U.S. drivers paid less than half the European price and $1.15 per gallon below the world average, according to the Bloomberg ranking.
“Gasoline is relatively cheap in the U.S. but it fluctuates with the market a lot and that’s one of the reasons you hear a lot of complaints,” said analyst Jacob Correll. “It’s not necessarily the price level. It’s how fast things can change.”
In Norway, western Europe’s largest crude exporter, the cost of gasoline increased 4.4 percent in July from three months earlier, compared with the 11 percent decline in the U.S.
The Turks spend $9.41, the second-highest price in the ranking. In China, the second-largest oil consumer, the price was $4.89. The Japanese paid $7.15.