World's Highest Gas Prices
Next time you pull over to refuel, be grateful you don’t live in Istanbul. While there may be bargains within the city’s Grand Bazaar, haggling won’t get you anywhere at the local gas station—where Turkish drivers must now pay $9.63 per gallon.
Sure, here in the U.S., we’re forking over about 30 percent more at the pump than last year. The nationwide average for self-serve unleaded regular gasoline was $3.96 in mid-May, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. But a March 2011 survey conducted by AIRINC, a Cambridge, MA–based consulting firm, confirms that compared to many other countries, Americans still have it good—and cheap.
Turkey and Eritrea are saddled with the world’s highest gas prices, with the latter hitting $9.59 a gallon, according the survey. It’s only a matter of time until gas crests the $10 a gallon mark, especially if the year’s pattern of natural disasters and revolutions continues.
“Unrest and uncertainty in the Middle East are disrupting major supplies,” says Avery Ash, AAA’s manager of regulatory affairs. “As a result, that’s driven prices up on the commodities markets.”
Government policies and priorities also have a big impact on pricing. European countries like the Netherlands have traditionally imposed high taxes on fuel to encourage conservation, maintain air quality, and fund public transportation that is vastly superior to that found in the U.S. When you live in Amsterdam, the world’s most bike-friendly city, it doesn’t matter so much that gas has surpassed $8 a gallon.
Still other governments work overtime to ensure that gas stays as cheap as possible. Generous subsidies keep prices down around six cents per gallon in the oil-rich, yet impoverished country of Venezuela.
As prices continue to rise in most corners of the world, AAA’s Ash looks for the silver lining. “When gas prices get higher, you reach a point where people ration their demand and then you usually see prices get pushed downward.”
Be part of that supply-and-demand solution by leaving the car at home, especially when heading to these countries with the world’s highest gas prices, as determined by AIRINC.
$9.63 a gallon
$154.08 for a 16-gallon tank
Turkish taxi drivers in this fabled city that straddles the Bosporus pay a whopping $9.63 a gallon, largely because the country imports 87 percent of its gasoline. No wonder they’re sometimes accused of ripping off passengers. Luckily, Istanbul has an extensive, if jam-packed, network of trams, subways, and ferries, and even dolmuş service—a group taxi van that covers a set route.
$9.59 a gallon
$153.44 for a 16-gallon tank
The cost of getting around the capital of one of the world’s most dangerous countries is indeed a king’s ransom. But chances are that a trip to scope out the Art Deco city or the extraordinary Red Sea coastline isn’t in your immediate future. The U.S. State Department has issued a warning that recommends deferring travel to this country in the Horn of Africa—citing high crime, an unstable government, and an ongoing conflict with neighboring Ethiopia.
$9.27 a gallon
$148.32 for a 16-gallon tank
Norway is a land of high mountains, high salaries, and even higher taxes. In other words, $9.27 a gallon is not so bad when you consider that a beer costs about $11 at an Oslo pub and dinner for two at Restaurant Julius Fritzner runs close to $400. You won’t need a car to get around Oslo. To explore the rest of this vast country, rent an efficient model car like a Volvo S40 sedan, which gets 30 miles to the gallon.
$8.50 a gallon
$136 for a 16-gallon tank
Add monumental gas prices to Greece’s lengthy list of money woes. The country received a $146 billion bailout from the European Union in 2010, and continues to struggle with fiscal issues and striking workers. Its ancient ruins, beaches, and family-run tavernas still entice travelers, but you’re better off hopping ferries to Mykonos and Santorini than exploring the mainland by pricey rental car.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
$8.45 a gallon
$135.20 for a 16-gallon tank
The denizens of this ridiculously rich principality don’t blink when their driver fills up the Bentley (or Lamborghini or Ferrari) at $8.45 per gallon. When fortunes are made and lost in one evening at the baccarat tables at the Casino Café de Paris, the high price of gasoline—and virtually everything else—is simply considered a small sacrifice for living well.
$8.42 a gallon
$134.72 for a 16-gallon tank
Pricey petrol is a way of life in Copenhagen, which plans to become the world’s first CO2-neutral capital by 2025. The Danes’ highly taxed fuel subsidizes a lifestyle that is among the best in the world. So do as many residents of Copenhagen do and avoid a car. Instead, plan to walk, take a sightseeing tour on an electric CityCirkel bus, or get around with City Bike, a free bike-sharing program that requires a refundable deposit of 20 Danish krone (about $4).
$8.18 a gallon
$130.88 for a 16-gallon tank
If you thought Sweden was affordable because you went on a shopping spree at your local Ikea, think again. You don’t need Stieg Larsson’s moody heroine, Lisbeth Salander, to unravel the mystery of stratospheric fuel prices in Stockholm. Sweden has one of the highest costs of living in the world. With gasoline at $8.18, it might cost less to get a dragon tattoo.
$8.17 a gallon
$130.72 for a 16-gallon tank
When in Brussels, it’s cheap to fill up on frites and moules and what may be the world’s best beer. But here, in the headquarters of the European Union, the same can’t be said for gas prices. Solution: take the trains and let the bureaucrats and diplomats sweat it out at the pump. They’re on expense accounts, anyway.
$8.17 a gallon
$130.72 for a 16-gallon tank
William and Kate don’t fret about the cost of filling up the royal Audis. But as a visiting commoner, you might think twice about the cost of a long road trip through the English countryside—or even a long taxi ride. So use British Rail to go to Brighton or Bath; take the Tube and ride buses within London. If you really must see the Cotswolds or Cornwall by car, rent a Mini, which gets 36 miles to the gallon on highways.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
$8.01 a gallon
$128.16 for a 16-gallon tank
Gas has surpassed the $8-a-gallon mark in Amsterdam, but only chumps drive in the world’s most bike-friendly city. Sensible Amsterdammers take the trams or ride their bikes everywhere, crisscrossing the picturesque canals. Follow their lead and rent a sturdy three-speed bike from Rent a Bike for $21 a day—less than the cost of three gallons of gas—and pedal your way along the canals.