With oil above $110 per barrel as we head into the summer driving season, the prospect of $4 gasoline has many Americans changing plans to stay closer to home. The last decade has been a painful one for US motorists. Since 2000, the price of oil has increased from $25.25 per barrel to the current level of $112.60 (340%), and all of that increase has made its way to the pump.
In Europe, however, oil's rise has been considerably less painful for drivers. In euro terms, the price of oil has increased from 24.94 to today's level of 77.55 (211%). However, before we all begin to envy drivers in Europe because the strong euro has partially insulated the region from the rise in oil prices, remember that government taxes are higher in that region. As of last month, the average price of gasoline in Europe was nearly $8 per gallon, which is about twice the level Americans are paying today.
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