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Fuel Prices – Quit your whining, Springer fans

05 Apr Posted by in Products | 4 comments
Fuel Prices – Quit your whining, Springer fans
 
Remember the days of Jerry Springer enthusiasts who claimed that they only watched because it made them feel better about themselves to see someone else worse off?

Well, this is the same reason Americans should take into consideration the comparison of fuel prices between the US and Germany. Although, I must warn you that while listing and explaining the facts, I will inevitably write something overboard and everyone just might end up screaming like a Jerry Springer episode anyway.



fuel_prices_germany_usa_april_2012

Yes, while the US average is currently at $3.90, the German average is at $8.58. Feel a little better now, Americans? No?

Me either.

Especially taking other information into consideration.

The facts:

The US is the largest oil consuming country in the world  – As Americans we consume the most oil at exuberantly higher rates than any other country in the world. In fact, if you put Brazil, Russia, India, and China together, the US still consumes more than these countries combined.

Why Brazil, Russia, India, and China? Because media attention has recently been drawn to these countries and their rising oil usages referring to them as BRIC and stating that while other countries are working to reduce fuel consumption, these countries are actually increasing.

Why is the media trying to place the blame elsewhere? Sorry, I’m not buying it. Americans can’t point the finger when three fingers are pointing back at America.

Keep in mind, 310 Million Americans use approx. 903 Million Tons of refined oil per year, while 2.9 Billion people in the BRIC countries use around 730 Million Tons of refined oil per year.

Types of cars comparison – Why have we been programmed to always assume that bigger means better? When I moved to Germany, did I initially laugh at how small all of the cars were on the road? Yes.

And when I was looking for a car, I was comparing engine sizes trying to find the biggest size in my price range.

I discussed the decision with a neighbor and had an eye opening conversation.

The Germans like to joke about Americans and their cars. He asked me, “Why do you guys have to drive such big cars?” My answer… “Because everyone drives like idiots and you need a large car to protect yourself from other idiots. Plus we like to go fast.”

His response, “How can you go fast when speed limits are around 60mph and often times there is so much traffic?”

Good question coming from a country with an Autobahn and open speed limits. Who was laughing now? Not this expat.

As an American, I must ask myself, why and how do Germans drive such tiny cars and yet, when they want to go fast, they can? Seems like Germans should be the ones who want the larger engines, but they don’t. Another example of German mentality, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”



dsc_0358

And this is what I ended up buying.

The below numbers indicate options available in the US vs. Germany and the differences between the two. 

bmw_1_model_usa_germany_comparison

You can still have a decent size car with a smaller engine. So why do Americans need such big engines?

Basically Americans use their big engines to start quickly from a red light only to race to the next red light or traffic jam on the highway. And hopefully we all know by now, that a lot of fuel consumption is used when starting from a stopped position.

Blaming the President for Fuel Prices – I think more people are beginning to learn how stupid it is to blame the current president for fuel prices.

Hopefully I don’t have to do much more than point again to the diagram above and the amount of taxes paid between the two countries versus the amount of margin.

Paying 54% in taxes, Germans are allowed to complain about government taxes, but with only 13% paid in taxes by Americans, sorry guys, no government complaints allowed at this point and no sympathy from this expat. Only complaints against the oil companies are allowed, for now.

Americans, what you can blame on the government is if they force India to embargo Iran so that India must seek other sources of fuel, then yes, things are about to get worse.

Blaming Iran and Iraq and basically all Middle Eastern Countries for Fuel Prices – I don’t think that most Americans realize that 50% of the US oil suppliers are from the Western Hemisphere.

Americans top two suppliers? Canada and Mexico.

Where does Germany get most of their oil? Russia and Europe (e.g. Norway and the British Sea).

What percentage of oil consumption is imported for each country?

US imports about 50%

Germany imports 98%

I guess Germany has more of a right to complain about imported oil.

Asking the US government to allow more US drilling – Many people claim that if we tapped into the US’ oil reserves and were allowed to drill that this would bring fuel prices down for Americans. While in theory this sounds like it makes sense, in reality the oil would be sold on the global market anyway.

Do you really think that oil companies are going to sell back to the US any cheaper than they could be making globally out of the goodness of their hearts? No, they want to be allowed to drill more to make more money.

Canada is our number one imported oil supplier and do you know what the Ottawa newspaper was yammering about the other day? The rising fuel rates. They aren’t in any better shape than if the US would start drilling in US soil.

Not going to the pump for a specific day – I don’t even want to try to take on why this is so stupid.

Yes, it is your right as an American to choose your vehicle (although I don’t really consider it a choice when the options suck).

And as an American it is your right to choose to complain about fuel prices, but it is also your choice whether or not to believe what society makes you think is normal. For example, that the bigger the engine the better. Or that what you are paying for fuel is just too darn high. Hello, last I checked $8.58 is greater than $3.90.

So yes, I am arguing about who has the right to complain about fuel prices.

Start trying to consume less overall. Ride a bike or use public transportation. Even a motorcycle would be better. Rednecks, instead of that big almost broken-down truck, convert your 4-wheelin’ quad to a street legal bike.

And when is the US finally going to jump on the same measurement system as the rest of the world? It would make comparing fuel prices so much dang easier.

I will start to feel sorry for complaining Americans once there is an even playing ground.

Here is my “I have a dream” speech:

I have a dream…a dream that cars in both the US and Germany and all countries worldwide are using the same amount of fuel.

A dream where Americans get used to smaller engines…

A dream where both countries are paying as much in taxes as the other…if paying taxes at all (snicker, snicker)

And a dream that when there is fuel consumption equality, Americans and Germans can whine hand-in-hand about the rising costs at the pump.

When everyone is doing their part to reduce consumption, I would gladly love to have us all whine together.

And now after taking a beautifully written MLK Jr. speech and turning it into reasons why people need to quit complaining about fuel prices…I can safely say I am going to hell.

In addition, I am tired of all the media hype on fuel prices. Gas prices go up in the summer and down in the winter and each year are inevitably going to get higher. Duh!

Yes…because I am sick of hearing all the whining about fuel prices, I decided to whine about the whining.

So as Americans and Germans, how do we fix this mess and how do we bring fuel prices down? You can’t! It’s a global market. But you can choose how much you personally consume… or don’t consume.



img_3779



img_3773

Both pictures were taken on 25.02.2012 and reflect prices in Euro and measured in Liters.

*To comment on this article, please list your form of daily transportation to and from work at the beginning of your comment. If there aren’t any comments, I can only assume you are too embarrassed to admit the size of your vehicle and how much fuel you consume. Size does matter.



  1. Lynette04-05-12

    We drive a midsize SUV/crossover with a V6 and a sedan. Next car purchase: a Mini Cooper! To save $$$ on gas of course. :) I’m not going to complain about gas prices. We chose what we drive. We like to camp, and intend to get a small trailer, so we’ll never get away from having something to tow with. But, we can’t wait to buy that Mini for Tom to commute in. ;)

    • Mommy04-07-12

      In the US I drove an Acura TL Type-S…so I was just as guilty of using more gas than I probably needed. But I didn’t ever complain about gas prices. In fact, I used Premium fuel because that’s what the manual said. LOL As for towing… I definitely need to get some pics of campers being towed in Germany and Netherlands. You haven’t seen towing until you’ve seen wagons towing campers. Granted, the campers are smaller than the US… but you’d be surprised at some of the stuff over here. The terrain is pretty flat though.

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