Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fill Er Up... and Empty Your Wallet

Tom and I recently rented a car to drive down to the Southern coast of England this last weekend. When it was my turn to drive we had to stop and get some petrol (that's gas to us Americans). What a shock I received... a Vauxhall diesel automatic cost me 50 quid to fill. And that was only 3/4 tank!

So the Vauxhall Meriva  takes about 54 liters (about 14.25 gallons) of fuel. The Automobile Association (think: AAA) said in August diesel petrol prices rose to 139.7p/per liter. So doing the math(s) that would be a fill up would cost 75.44GBP.

XE.com has the dollar at 1.557 to the Pound, so the US equivalent is $117.45.

How about in the good ol USA? How much would to cost to fill up the Vauxhall Meriva? The issue is that every states levies its own tax rate on gas prices, so its a bit harder to break down. I am using this website, which has average gas prices from as recent at September 2011. I am from New York, so that is what I will use, $3.779/gallon.

$3.779 * 14.25 =  $53.85.... 34.59GBP.

Wow what a difference! About a 45/46% difference.  

There is also a difference in fuel price breakdown. The US one is here, and the UK one is here.

The interesting bits are these:
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, here's an approximation of where each dollar you spend on gas goes:
  • Taxes: 13 cents
  • Distribution and Marketing: 8 cents
  • Refining: 14 cents
  • Crude oil: 65 cents
This breakdown of the price of petrol is based on the assumption of a £1 per litre of petrol. 
  • Petrol Fuel Duty - 48.35p
  • VAT (17.5%) - 14.9p
  • Refinery Petrol Costs - 31.75p
  • Forecourt Costs - 3p
  • Forecourt Profit - 2p
So taking into account the 3.785 liter/gallon, if you add the UK taxes up, that equals 2.40GBP/gallon in taxes, which in USD is $3.73/gallon. If we make life easier for me and say gas is $4/gallon, that means we pay $0.52/gallon in taxes.

I know I know this varies by states, but the next time you complain when filling up, just think of people in the UK. Now I understand why road trips are kept to a minimum!

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