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While the price of gas in the U.S. is lower than in some other countries, it’s not the cheapest in the world, experts said. It ranks somewhere in the middle.
The difference in gasoline prices between countries is largely due to whether a country can produce its own oil and the amount of taxes and fees governments place on fuel.
Biden has little to do with gas prices. Oil is part of a global market that is impacted by a slew of factors — like pandemics, inflation and war — that are largely outside of the president’s control.
President Joe Biden has faced a lot of criticism over the rising cost of fuel in the United States.
But some social media posts have recently taken the opposite route, praising Biden for keeping gas prices low and claiming that fuel costs much more in other countries.
On June 2, a Twitter user shared an illustration comparing gas prices around the world with a caption that read:
"My plan is to thank President Biden for giving Americans the cheapest gas prices on Earth. I gassed up today for $4.29 a gallon at Exxon. Thanks Joe."
The illustration shows expensive prices for gas in places like Hong Kong ($10.71 a gallon) and Norway ($10.19 a gallon). It lists the United States as the lowest at $4.46 a gallon.
The prices aren’t far off, but the premise that the U.S. has the "cheapest" fuel in the world, and that it’s because of Biden, is wrong.
"This is true if you only look at Western Europe," said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Houston. "The U.S. is right smack in the middle of the pack when it comes to gas prices. At one end, you have Western Europe, and at the other are Saudi Arabia and Iran."
As of June 6, the average price of a regular gallon of gasoline in the U.S. is $4.87, according to the American Automobile Association. The average global price of gasoline, meanwhile, is $5.35 per gallon, according to data reported May 30 by energy tracking company GlobalPetrolPrices.com.
The U.S currently ranks 67th out of the 170 countries that the company tracks. Venezuela is the least expensive at $0.08 per gallon while Hong Kong ranks the most expensive at $11.20 a gallon.
"Just as I don't think you can blame Biden for high gas prices, I don't think you can give Biden credit for low gas prices compared with other countries," said Clark Williams-Derry, an energy finance analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
The Biden administration’s releases from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve are likely keeping prices down a little bit, experts said, but that effect is largely diluted across the global market. So while the government might be lowering American gas prices, they're lowering prices in other countries as well.
Multiple factors influence the difference of gasoline prices between countries; the two biggest are whether countries produce oil and the amount of taxes and fees they place on gas.
The U.S. is the world’s top producer of oil, followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia, and the federal government levies very few taxes on fuel, which keeps American gas prices among the lowest in industrialized nations.
"Compared to most other major developed nations, the U.S. has fairly low fuel taxes: 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline at the federal level, plus taxes that vary by state. Compare that with Norway, where the tax is 4.95 Krone per liter, which works out to about $2 per gallon," Williams-Derry said. "It's been that way for a long time, not something that started a few years ago. Also, fuel taxes are set by Congress, and Biden has zippo to do with the current level of U.S. and state fuel taxes in comparison with other nations."
European countries have imposed much higher taxes on drivers, surpassing $3 a gallon in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy, and topping $2 per gallon in Germany, France and Belgium, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
While the price of gas may be lower in the U.S. compared with some other countries, no other country is more dependent on automobiles — resulting in Americans spending more on fuel overall.
U.S. motorists drive an average of 14,263 miles a year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. The second-highest country is Canada, where drivers average around 9,500 miles per year.
Ultimately, Biden has little to do with the current volatility in the market. The most recent spike in gas prices stemmed largely from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. However, gas prices were rising before the Russian troop buildup around Ukraine became front-page news. Inflation, as well as growing consumer demand due to the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, had already been driving up gas prices.
A tweet claimed that Biden gave Americans the "cheapest" gas prices on Earth.
This isn’t accurate. While gas prices in the U.S. are lower than in some European countries because of oil production and taxes, they certainly aren’t the lowest in the world.
Biden has little to do with fuel prices. Oil is part of a global market that is impacted by a slew of factors — like pandemics, inflation and war — that are largely outside of the president’s control.
We rate this False.
Twitter post, June 2, 2022
American Automobile Association, Gas Prices, Accessed June 2, 2022
GlobalPetrolPrices.com, Gasoline prices, US Gallon, 30-May-2022, Accessed June 2, 2022
PolitiFact, Ask PolitiFact: Why are gas prices going up?, March 9, 2022
US News & World Report, A Look at Gas Prices Around the World, May 19, 2022
U.S. Department of Energy, Fuel Taxes by Country, updated March 2019
U.S. Energy Information Administration, How much tax do we pay on a gallon of gasoline and on a gallon of diesel fuel?, Accessed June 4, 2022
U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, ANNUAL VEHICLE-MILES OF TRAVEL, 1980 - 2019
Frontier Group, Fact file: Americans drive the most, Feb. 14, 2022
Policy Advice, How Much Do Americans Drive? (Infographic), March 5, 2021
Kelly Blue Book, Average Miles Driven Per Year: Why It Is Important, Sept. 22, 2021
Email interview, Clark Williams-Derry energy finance analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, June 3, 2022
Email interview, Ramanan Krishnamoorti, professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Houston, June 3, 2022
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