Gas prices may feel high in the U.S., but they are much higher in the rest of the world.
In the U.S., gas prices average $4.19 per gallon, according to Bloomberg. In contrast, gas prices are $5.75 per gallon in Canada, $6.75 per gallon in Australia, $8.84 per gallon in the United Kingdom, and $9.35 per gallon in Italy.
Gas prices are lower in the U.S. to a large extent because the U.S. subsidizes oil production and levies relatively low gas taxes. Other countries tax gas consumption more heavily, according to Bloomberg. Gas prices are highest in Norway at $9.69 per gallon, where there are large taxes on gas to subsidize free college education and infrastructure improvements.
Gas taxes in some countries are even higher than the average price of gas in the U.S. The gas tax in Germany is $4.88; in France, it is $5.40, according to AIRINC data cited by The Atlantic.
Lower prices mean that the U.S. is more exposed to sudden gas price fluctuations than countries with higher gas taxes, according to experts cited by CNN Money. Americans also have grown accustomed to working farther from home because of lower gas prices, making them more dependent on cars, according to CNN Money.Gas prices spiked last year because of turmoil in the Middle East and under-regulated speculation by investors, but they have been falling again.