U. S. gasoline prices reached an all-time high recently, pushing through the $4 a gallon level to hit $4.17 on March 7. One could argue that the previous peak gas price of $4.11 set on July 18, 2008, was higher when inflation is taken into account. The two dates share something in common. Each was set in a period when crude oil prices topped $100 a barrel.
Gasoline prices are increasing not just in the U.S. but in many countries worldwide, and the country where gas prices are soaring is Sudan. (In the U.S., these are the states where gas prices are rising fastest.)
The recent rise in gas prices was relatively sudden. The average price for a gallon of regular nationwide was $2.86 a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association. The price of oil has risen from $58 a barrel a year ago.
Oil prices increased mostly due to the current geopolitical situation. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered an international boycott of Russian crude. Russia is the third largest exporter of crude after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. This, in turn, has lowered supply while global demand has not changed, causing crude prices to spike.
Nations have scrambled to find new sources of crude. The situation in the U.K. and Europe is particularly dire because European countries have relied so heavily on Russian oil supplies. The U.S. is a major crude producer, but it will take weeks, if not months, to ship additional oil to Europe. European Union leaders have asked OPEC members to boost production, and at least one, the United Arab Emirates, is open to the idea. However, as is the case with the U.S., this cannot be done overnight. Globally, the oil shortage may last for months.
The effects on gas prices by country are radically different. While gas prices have risen by double-digit percentages in some nations from early 2021, prices in other countries, like major oil producers Mexico and Kuwait, have barely budged at all.
To find the countries where gas prices are soaring, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Global Petrol Prices data on gas prices in 135 countries. Countries were ranked by the percent change in the price per gallon of gas from March 1, 2021, to March 7, 2022. Fuel import data for 2020 came from the World Bank.
The nation where gas prices have increased the most over that period is Sudan, where gas prices have risen 150%, according to Global Petrol Prices. It is among the countries with the lowest gross domestic product per capita. Several other poor countries are among the countries where gasoline prices have risen fastest, including Afghanistan, Botswana, and Guatemala.
Sudan’s gas price increase is based on a decision by its government to drop subsidies. Whatever the reason, it is bound to put a significant burden on the nation’s residents. (These are the U.S. states with the highest gas taxes.)
Finally, it is worth noting that if the global oil supply continues to be interrupted, the rise in gas prices may not be over.
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