The Price Of Gas In The U.S. Is Too Low


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I hate filling up my tank and watching the bill go higher and higher as much as the next guy, but The Center for Investigative Reporting has just released a study which shows that the price we pay for gas in the U.S. is artificially low — and I have to agree 100%. Their study says that:

  • The U.S. has it easy when it comes to gas prices as we pay about 1/2 of what Europeans pay, which is about $8.50 per gallon.
  • The cost of air pollution for the Los Angeles region adds up to more than $1,250 per person per year.
  • Oil spill cleanups are expensive. The BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico is estimated to have cost (so far) $20 billion. And each year, $600 million is spent to clean up leaking underground gasoline storage tanks.
  • Air pollution leads to reduced crop yields. A 2009 report on climate change showed that that greenhouse gases can reduce crop yields for “soybeans, wheat, oats, green beans, peppers and some types of cotton.”

And there is more, too. Check out this video to see all the invisible costs of a gallon of gasoline that we currently don’t pay for at the pump:

And this chart over at GOOD shows that as of this past March, The Netherlands paid the most for a gallon of gas at $8.83 while the U.S. paid a paltry $3.55 in comparison. I paid just $3.39/gallon this morning, and I feel “lucky” I don’t have to pay $8+ instead. But am I actually lucky? Or am I just passing the savings off to be paid for in a different, more harmful way?

What do you think about how low the price of gasoline is in the U.S.?

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  1. To me the price of gasoline in the US is treated much the way corn by-product is in reference to high fructose corn syrup. We need to cut it from our daily diet. It causes us to be overly dependent on a commodity that could very well dry up one day. It’s effects are disastrous and long-lasting. But because it is delivered to us in an “affordable” manner we justify its purchase.

  2. It hurts every time it costs $50 to fill my Mini Cooper, but when a Hummer or huge Ford pickup truck blows by me on a back road like I’m standing still (I drive through a very rural area on my way to work every day), I find myself thinking that if they can afford to drive like that, gas prices must not be high enough.

  3. You are probably right, that the price of gasoline does not take into account it’s other negative effects. When gas prices go up it does hurt to fill up my tank, but in the back of my mind I know it’s the only way people will drastically change.

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