U.S. Feels Less Gasoline Pain as Pakistan Tops Ranking

From Bloomberg

The U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer, is among the nations feeling the least pain at the gasoline pump, while Pakistan tops the list of 60 countries ranked by Bloomberg.

A gallon of premium gasoline cost Americans 3 percent of their daily income in October, 55th out of 60 nations, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In Pakistan, a gallon cost 46 percent more than a worker’s daily wage. Venezuelans paid 0.3 percent of their income to buy each gallon, the least in the world, the data show.

“It’s good to keep that number down, just because we drive so much in the U.S.,” said Jacob Correll, a Louisville, Kentucky-based analyst at Summit Energy Inc., which manages more than $20 billion in companies’ annual energy spending. “We need fairly cheap gasoline prices because you have so many miles being driven.”

The price of premium in October was $4.14 a gallon in the U.S., ranked 50th among the 60 countries, lower than China, where a gallon went for $4.87, and Pakistan, where it cost $5.13. The highest pump price was in Norway, where motorists paid $10.47 a gallon. Norwegian drivers paid about 3.9 percent of their daily income for the fuel, ranked 52nd.

Pakistan Demand

Gasoline sales in Pakistan rose 22 percent in July from a year earlier to an all-time high of 305,000 tons, about 75,000 barrels a day, according to Topline Securities Pakistan Ltd. The U.S. used 8.82 million barrels a day in the same month, according to the Energy Department.

Some drivers in Pakistan use less-expensive compressed natural gas, said Nauman Khan, a Karachi-based analyst at Topline Securities.

“The trend might shift as Pakistan is stopping gas supply to filling stations for at least two days a week due to a shortage,” Khan said. “This has, in turn, taken petrol sales to a record.”

Motorists in Venezuela, a nation that subsidizes gasoline to cap prices, paid 9 cents a gallon. A price increase led to riots in 1989, when then-President Carlos Andres Perez implemented an International Monetary Fund-sponsored plan to raise fuel and transport costs.

Venezuela Subsidy

“The gasoline subsidy started out as a social subsidy 60 years ago to give poor households access to fuel,” Pedro Rodriguez, a professor of political economy at the IESA business school in Caracas, said in a phone interview. “Today the reason for keeping the subsidy is political and it’s become taboo to talk about raising prices after the riots in 1989.”

Oil futures for January delivery fell $1.62, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $86.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 13 percent this year. Gasoline futures dropped 4.09 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $2.5969 a gallon, down 3.3 percent this year.

Premium gasoline at U.S. service stations rose 0.2 cent to $3.695 a gallon yesterday, up 3.9 percent this year, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the largest U.S. motoring group.

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