Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fuel prices

It's always difficult to work out the prices of fuel in other countries - by the time you convert the currency and then convert gallons to metric, your head is spinning. So it was nice to see this piece on ABC radio this morning:

AM - Wednesday, 11 June , 2008 08:05:00
Reporter: David Mark
TONY EASTLEY: Americans are complaining because their fuel has reached around one dollar a litre.

Australian motorists believe they're doing it tough at $1.50 a litre or thereabouts but petrol pain is acute in Europe where the prices are much higher. There, people have taken to the streets and highways in protest.

David Mark reports.

DAVID MARK: Around the world petrol prices are rising. Motorists and truck drivers on the street are on the street.

In Spain where the price of fuel is the equivalent of $AU 1.89 a litre, around 90,000 truck drivers have blocked the country's motorways with their lorries in protest.

VOX POP (translated): This is like a tug-of-war we mustn't give up at the beginning. This is the last bullet in our gun, if this doesn't work, we're lost.

DAVID MARK: Spanish petrol prices are in fact among Europe's cheapest. In Portugal where truck drivers are also protesting, fuel costs around $AU 2.40 per litre. It's about the same price in the UK and Italy.

The price in France and Germany is only marginally cheaper at around $AU 2.30 per litre.

Europe's most expensive countries for fuel are Norway at $AU 2.67 per litre and Turkey at $AU 2.68.

(Sound of people protesting)

The protests aren't confined to Europe. Motorists in many Asian companies are also up in arms about the petrol price hikes.

In Nepal, protesters are on the streets of Kathmandu after petrol rose 25 per cent. The price there is the Australian equivalent of a $1.58 per litre

Protesters are also on the street in Hong Kong where petrol costs around $1.99. It costs a $1.06 in Pakistan and in India it's a $1.24.

In South Korea, where the Government has offered to resign in part because of fuel prices, petrol costs $AU 1.96.

But while most motorists are doing paying ever more, in some countries fuel is virtually free. It costs just 12 cents per litre in Saudi Arabia and just five cents a litre in Venezuela.

Most motorists can only dream of paying so little for the fuel, but they can take some heart in a forecast by the International Energy Association which is predicting oil prices will fall over the next two years to below $US 100 a barrel.

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