What price “gas”?

Americans love to complain about the price of gas. When Australians complain about it, we call it petrol. With the weather fast hotting up, the SUVs are coming out of their garaged hiberation and onto the open road. The regular chorus of “news” stories about gas prices on radio and TV here leaves me with the impression that there would be little to report were it not for fuel cost and shark attack stories.

Page 66 of June’s Wired magazine was a useful antidote to this mild hysteria. An illustration of the globe pinpoints about two dozen cities around the world, from which a line leads to a boxed dollar amount of the respective price per gallon (3.79 litres) in US dollars. Sydney comes in at $3.57, about halfway between London ($6.65) and Riyadh ($0.45). And New York? A relatively moderate $2.76, especially for a city in which not having to drive a car to get to where you want to go is one of its most liveable features.

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