I couldn't resist chipping in to this topic - we like a good old fashioned moan here in the UK :)
Folks, you want to try living in the Hebrides (Scotland, UK). We pay £1.15 for petrol (gas) and around £1.27 for diesel - this is per litre! It works out roughly at about $8 a gallon for petrol and $8.85 for diesel. On top of that (unlike in Germany by the sound of it) we have to pay the UK road tax which is currently around £200 for the year I think. I read that tax makes up 69.9% of the petrol prices.
And then we wonder why tourism here is in decline...
From: Andreas Willers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, 9 March, 2009 9:44:24
Subject: Re: gas prices, was Nuggets of Wisdom for Loop Touring
> Also, for Americans, the price of petrol in Europe and the UK is staggering compared to what we are used to in terms of subsidized gasoline prices in the US all of our lives.
"Really, Rick, is there (and has there been all the time) a subsidy on
(car) gasoline prices in the U.S. for all your respective lives?
Meaning that the vendor actually gets a guaranteed price on gas which
will be achieved by using taxpayer's money if the market doesn't
reflect that guarantee?
I'm asking because here in
Germany (which is part of Europe, and hence
part of your counterexample), the tax portion on gas (including all
those crazy taxes the invented from time to time) is above 60%, which
may appear odd, destructive and all in all rather true to Stalinistic
ideals which, in fact, it is."
Yes, the state does charge a lot on gas in Germany. They take the money and build infrastructure (roads) for every car driver tu use more or less for free. If the environmental drain of very buildt car and every mile of driving it would be properly calculated they would have to charge much, much more. Question is whether the ecological damage can (or even should) be mended at all. The whole discussion of the rather low cost of worldwide transportation, globalisation and sustainability starts right there. No easy fix for this.