On European fuel prices and the lessons that OPEC countries can learn from Norway

Let’s be the devil’s advocate for a minute. I was perusing the other side of the coin, and I found this interesting marketing act put together last year by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

As unlikely as it may sound, if transport and fishing workers united their arguments with OPEC’s against the European governments, not only they would raise their case more strongly, but it would remind us of USA supporting Sadam or financing and training Osama and friends in Afghanistan.

According to OPEC, in the 2002-2006 period, the G7 governments made a meagre 2,310bn in oil taxes. In the same years, the oil cartel only made 2,045bn. The fact that they don’t bother keeping their data updated, tells us how concerned they are about their image. I cannot blame them, who would at $135 per barrel?

On a related note, the AA just published their monthly UK and overseas fuel prices report. For the lazy ones, last May the average prices for petrol and diesel in pound terms went like this :

Petrol

Diesel

1

Norway

130,53

131,95

2

Netherlands

129,40

114,29

3

Belgium

124,07

111,43

4

Denmark

120,12

121,08

5

Finland

118,27

106,42

6

Portugal

117,23

110,47

7

Italy

116,84

120,81

8

Sweden

115,43

123,99

9

France

112,62

107,21

10

United Kingdom

112,60

124,20

11

Germany

112,14

112,70

12

Poland

104,78

102,43

13

Austria

102,60

104,03

14

Slovakia

100,54

106,81

15

Czech republic

100,31

103,50

16

Ireland

99,34

105,30

17

Luxembourg

97,83

90,51

18

Hungary

96,78

102,26

19

Greece

93,53

101,49

20

Switzerland

92,77

103,02

21

Spain

91,94

99,02

22

Bulgaria

91,04

97,98

23

Slovenia

88,60

94,49

24

Malta

86,69

87,25

25

Estonia

86,01

92,37

26

Lithuania

85,78

91,54

27

Latvia

83,48

89,14

28

USA

50,32

58,54

What makes this list so interesting is the fact that the most expensive petrol and diesel prices (aside from war zones and Bagdad’s Green Zone Halliburton-supplied petrol) is not other than… Norway.

So what? You’ll ask. Well, dear reader, Norway happens to be the only European country (Russia is Asia, right?) who is a net exporter of the black gold. And still, look at them, as green as the greener of my dad’s lettuces and instead of subsidising petrol as other developing and oil producing countries do, they keep a high level of tax and they prefer selling the rest in the open markets.

In India, Thailand and the other ones playing catch-up, governments are artificially keeping petrol prices low, to the point of forcing their national champions (Indian Oil Corporation has already warned its government) to go belly up.

Oil-rich countries are more into the dirt-cheap strategy, like Venezuela or Saudi Arabia where the Red Bull and crisps you get at the shop are more expensive than filling up the tank. I always wondered how the petrol stations make money in these countries… food for thought.

It sounds absurd that at the level of oil prices that we have to suffer, oil producing countries waste it in their subsidised and growing domestic demand when they could be turbo charging their sovereign funds (OK, perhaps it would not be such a big boost, but I wanted to use a motor analogy).

I will finish today with a quote borrowed from OPEC’s leaflet:

Wherever you live, that’s something to think about next time you stop to fill up your tank.

.Calvin

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4 Responses

  1. Am I missing something ? Hugo uses his petro dollars to fuel his socialist Bolivarian agenda.

  2. Alfie, Chaves?

  3. It will be interesting to see some data from the middle east and Africa, both two major oil producing continents.

    Thanks for sharing

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