WASHINGTON -- Americans are grumbling about gas prices hovering around $3 a gallon, but that price would be welcome in many other countries.And, showing that hope (or perhaps naïveté) is the most abundant strategic resource we have:
AP-Ipsos polling found wide disparities in what people in the U.S. and eight other countries think is a fair price.
Americans grit their teeth as they pump $3-per-gallon gas. They think $2 is about right. In Britain, $3 sounds sweet - people there pay about $6.40 a gallon and think $5 would be fair.
Spaniards would like to see gasoline for just over $3 a gallon. People in France, Italy, Germany and South Korea put the fair market price at $4 or a little more. Australians and Canadians would like to see it just under $3 a gallon. The cost of gas in these countries is higher than in the U.S. - from just over $4 a gallon in Australia to about $6.70 a gallon in Germany.
A majority of people in most of the nations polled said they think their government can act to limit increases in the price of gasoline.It's hard to imagine what.
But look at the numbers for Germany - almost $7/gallon, or a bit more than double what we spend now. Say $1.70/litre? Now, Germany's cars are generally more efficient than our own, but it's worth pointing out that expensive gas doesn't spell the end of human civlization, the way some of the worst pessimists think it will. In fact, despite a lot of negative press in the US, Germany's economy is doing very well indeed - it exports more manufactured goods than the US, with an economy 1/5 the size. And about the same level of public indebtedness - admittedly, given the Bush Administrations misspending, that's not a great number.
When Peak Oil arrives, it's not going to be the end of the world.