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Americans Suffer From Skyrocketing Oil Prices

Posted June. 10, 2008 08:31,   


Americans now have to pay more than $4 to buy a gallon (3.78 liter) of gasoline for the first time.

The American Automobile Association announced Sunday that the average price of gasoline increased 2 cents from a day ago to reach $4.005 per gallon. Even though the gasoline price has already surpassed the four-dollar-mark in some states like California where gas stations typically put higher price tags on gasoline, it is the first time the nationwide average price surpasses $4 per gallon.

Unfortunately, though, U.S. oil refineries have yet to reflect recent surging international oil prices to the price of gasoline. According to some experts, it would not take a long time for the gasoline price to surpass $5 per gallon if international oil prices continue to stay higher than $130 per barrel.

If a gallon of gasoline amounts to $4, a liter of gasoline costs $1.05. That means Americans can still buy gasoline at a cheaper price than their counterparts in the rest of the world. However, American households have been exposed to a greater shock since they use cars far more frequently than their counterparts in other nations.

With oil prices surging, Americans finally began changing. First of all, more and more Americans now choose public transportation. In major cities such as New York and Atlanta, increasingly more Americans are choosing buses, subways and light trains over their own cars this year.

For example, parking lots nearby bus stops and train stations are usually full of cars in New Jersey, which is located in the vicinity of New York, since lots of Americans choose to park their cars nearby stations and use public transportation to get to Manhattan.

At the same time, scooter riders have also increased. The National Public Radio reported that sales of scooters increased 7 percent from a year ago in the first quarter across the nation. In New York alone, sales of scooters increased a good 25 percent over the same period. Given a scooter can go more than 160 kilometers with a gallon of gasoline, its fuel efficiency is five times larger than that of a car.

Moreover, Americans living in border states even go to Mexico to fill up the gas tank.

The New York Times reported yesterday that low-income brackets living in southern rural areas are suffering particularly hard from surging oil prices.

According to the daily, Americans living in rural areas in Mississippi and Alabama spend more than 14 percent of their income to fill up their tanks. In rural areas that are not equipped with public transportation, people have no choice but to use their own cars even when oil prices are high and their income is relatively lower than nationwide average.