I've occasionally written about how U.S. motorists have been driving less and guzzling fewer gallons of gas since the years leading up to the recession. Here's a reminder, though, that compared to the rest of the world, we are still hopelessly addicted to gasoline.
The average American consumed more than 300 gallons of gasoline per year, which made us tops among the of 128 countries included in this chart by Berkeley business professor Lucas Davis. That's more than three Germans. Or at least 6 or 7 Frenchmen (sadly, we have to eyeball it). Only Kuwait, where gas is subsidized, and Canada are close.
Part of this can be explained by the fact that our gas taxes are relatively low. Americans get light-headed at the idea of of $4 gas, but in parts of Europe, that would be a 50 percent discount (prices are from the chart are from November 2012). Meanwhile, drivers abroad rely more on diesel, which is pretty much reserved for trucking in the U.S. As you can see below, Australia, France, and Canada—not to mention several Middle Eastern countries—all consume more of the fuel than we do. But not that much more. Considering it's essentially a commercial product in the states, we still manage to drain a remarkable amount of it per capita. When it comes to chugging fuel, we are exceptional.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.