These high prices are not a big surprise to consumers because, European prices have always been significantly higher than the U.S. This is due to half of gasoline costs going to government taxes.
Gas prices in Great Britain have jumped 17% in the past 12 months, with similar increases throughout the rest of Europe.
So, according to the NY Times, Europeans are saying, ‘We don’t want to get violent and unreasonable on your asses but, what more can we do?’:
Highways are filled with fuel-efficient Smart cars and Minis, most cities have highly developed public transportation systems, and green-minded policies have spawned everything from special bicycle lanes to downtown congestion charges. Now the current surge in the price of oil has many Europeans asking how much leaner they can become.
What else can they do? Strike against those taxes.
Port workers are fighting with police in Marseille, truckers are holding up traffic in London and blocking ports in the Netherlands, French farmers are using tractors and pitchforks to blockade oil depots, French nurses can’t afford to make home visits, and Italian travel agents can’t fill their tour buses. Even some Italian and Spanish fishermen are joining the fray by planning strikes for today.
I don’t really understand the fishermen one, but I’m sure it has something to do with fuel costs. Seems like the whole European continent is banding together against gas prices.
When you look at the sheer madness going on over there, you realize they have a lot more of a reason to be pissed than us Americans. Their cars are already 10 times more eco-friendly than ours and they are heavily investing in alternative fuels, along with alternative and public transport systems.
Maybe we should stop whining so much about our high costs? Fat chance. This $4 a gallon nonsense is crazy! I’ve had to reduce my usage too. Now I can only afford to take three baths in a vat of gasoline per week. Tough times.
New York Times: Irate Europeans Protest Soaring Cost of Gasoline, May 30, 2008