Gas, Soda and the Cost of Living

Not all that many years ago in a bid to somehow make it seem as though the price of gasoline was nothing to worry about, and consequently fuel efficiency standards were just so much nonsense, a few auto executives would guffaw, “The price of bottled water is greater than the same amount of gasoline!” Well, it is a pretty safe bet that the har-hars have come to an ignominious end.

Not all that many years ago in a bid to somehow make it seem as though the price of gasoline was nothing to worry about, and consequently fuel efficiency standards were just so much nonsense, a few auto executives would guffaw, “The price of bottled water is greater than the same amount of gasoline!”

Well, it is a pretty safe bet that the har-hars have come to an ignominious end.

And not just in the U.S., either, although gasoline prices are remarkably low in the U.S. vis-à-vis many other places on earth, or at least that is something that can be concluded from information that was included in the most recent worldwide “Cost of Living” survey conducted by Mercer, a human resources consulting organization.

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BP Station in China © BP p.l.c.

One of the things that they looked at in the study was the price of one liter of gasoline, unleaded, 95 octane. And another was the price of one liter of soda. (The price is calculated in U.S. dollars. The survey was conducted in March, with the results released on June 12.)

If you’re in Hong Kong, the gas will cost you $2.21 and the soda $0.93.

In Tokyo (the world’s most expensive city to live in, according to the Mercer study), there is closer parity--$1.94 for the gas, and $1.79 for the soda.

But that’s not near as close as in New York, where the prices are $1.10 for the gas and $1 for the soda. (Presumably Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed soda-size restrictions may have an effect on the pricing going forward.)

Looking at the gasoline price per liter in other major cities, it is $1.73 in Singapore, $1.59 in Sydney, $2.15 in London, $2.21 in Paris, $2.33 in Rome, and $2.26 in Amsterdam.

And $1.10 in New York.

According to a listing of selected cities, there are only two that have cheaper gas than New York: Moscow at $0.97 and Luanda, Angola (the second-most expensive city on earth) at $0.63.

For the 21 select cities for which there are figures for gasoline prices, the average for a liter of unleaded is $1.72.

Given that there is a world market for gasoline. . .doesn’t it seem that the New York price is a little low? I’m not complaining, mind you, but there seems as though there’s a little something off here.