The Globalist Quiz: Global gas prices

A gasoline pump is seen at a service station

JEREMY HOBSON: Here's a headline that's nice to hear: gas prices begin to drop. The national average is down 11 cents in the last week at $3.84 for a gallon of regular unleaded. And gas prices are the subject of today's Globalist quiz.

Our quizmaster is editor-in-chief Stephan Richter. Good morning.

STEPHAN RICHTER: Good morning Jeremy -- ready for today's quiz?

HOBSON: I'm ready.

RICHTER: So which of the following countries has the highest gasoline prices? Is it A) The United States, B) Saudi Arabia, C) Iran or D) China?

HOBSON: I'm going to go with Iran?
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RICHTER: Ah, I didn't ask about the lowest prices.

HOBSON: I was way off.

RICHTER: Yeah, 2.3 cents a liter or 9 cents a gallon. But at least the Iranians are trying to up and up the prices because they can't afford subsidizing any more. They're running out of money apparently to spill out those goodies.

HOBSON: I thought maybe with a closed economy that they would have some kind of a price hike. But maybe not. OK, fine. How about the United States?


RICHTER: United States, actually is not the top performer among these. In fact among all the developed countries, it ranks at the bottom because it has the lowest taxes. It is the 23rd lowest prices -- gasoline prices -- out of 170 nations around the world. And if I read you other countries that have lower prices in that same area as the United States -- Angola, Bolivia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ecuador -- the U.S. is in an astonishing neighborhood.

HOBSON: Well, I guess I'll go with China then.


RICHTER: China indeed, according to the Germany research institute GIZ, is the most expensive by comparison. Much more expensive than the United States -- $4.20 a gallon as of last November. Here is one way where the Chinese lead the way in terms of becoming cleaner than we are because if in a country as poor relatively as China is, gas prices are that high, it kind of puts a damper on driving that much, even though they still do a lot of it.

HOBSON: Stephan Richter, editor-in-chief of TheGlobalist.com. And they've got new features at The Globalist everyday. Thanks so much for joining us.

RICHTER: Great to be with you.

About the author

Stephan Richter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist, a daily online magazine on the global economy, politics and culture.
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As I see it, there is two ways of comparing the cost of gasoline between countries: a) Nominal cost and b) Real cost. By a) i mean the cost of a gallon converted to $ and by b) i mean the amount of work in hours required for the average worker in a country to buy that gallon. Average salary can be taken from the CIA website for instance. Stephan Richter of The Globalist was wrong on both account. With principle a), the most expensive gas can today be found in Turkey, Norway, Denmark etc. Even if China has increase the gas taxes slowly but surely they are still not all that high. under principle b) the cheapest gas in the world must be in USA - at the least amongst the developed countries. This is why there is so many behemoth cars here. Cars that are so unsellable anywhere else in the world that the factories making them go bankrupt if the market in USA goes sour for a few months. i have not done any specific or formal research but believe that the article given by Stephan Richter was erroneous, shallow, misleading and insignificant.

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