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Darkman

Us V Uk Fuel Price Comparisons

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I was curious to make a real comparison between UK and US fuel prices at current levels. It's a simple enough calculation, but I want to make sure I've done it correctly. Anything wrong with the comparison below?

UK gallons in dollars

£1.44 per litre in UK

1 litre = 0.2 gallons

0.2 gallons is £1.44 in UK

1 UK gallon is £7.20

£7.20 x 1.6 = $11.52 per gallon

So a gallon costing $3.89 in the USA would cost $11.52 in the UK

US litres in sterling

$3.89 per gallon

1 gallon = 4.5 litres

3.89 / 4.5 = 86c per litre

86c / 1.6 = 54p per litre

(0r 1 gallon is 3.89 / 1.6 = £2.43)

So a litre costing £1.44 in the UK would cost 54p in the USA

If correct this means fuel costs almost 3 times more in the UK (!)

Why is this? I'm guessing our huge tax on fuel pays for healthcare etc. And in the USA their relative lack of fuel tax means healthcare has to be paid for by individuals, not the state.

Any other thoughts?

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I can't tell by your calculations but have you accounted for the difference between the U.K and U.S gallon.

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I can't tell by your calculations but have you accounted for the difference between the U.K and U.S gallon.

No he hasn't. Given an exchange rate of 1.6, it works out at 64p per litre at the US prices. US Gallons have 3.78 litres.

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I was curious to make a real comparison between UK and US fuel prices at current levels. It's a simple enough calculation, but I want to make sure I've done it correctly. Anything wrong with the comparison below?

UK gallons in dollars

£1.44 per litre in UK

1 litre = 0.2 gallons

0.2 gallons is £1.44 in UK

1 UK gallon is £7.20

£7.20 x 1.6 = $11.52 per gallon

So a gallon costing $3.89 in the USA would cost $11.52 in the UK

US Gallons are 3.785L, so a US Gallon of £1.44/L unleaded would cost £5.45, or $8.72 - just over twice as much, in other words.

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No he hasn't. Given an exchange rate of 1.6, it works out at 64p per litre at the US prices. US Gallons have 3.78 litres.

I didn't know US gallons differed from UK gallons. Thanks for pointing it out.

That's exactly why I posted it here first :)

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The way that I look at it is that the RBOB futures price was $3.08 per gallon on Friday which is equivalent to roughly 49p per litre.

Everything above that is essentially tax.

We pay roughly 6 times as much tax per unit of fuel consumed as the Americans do.

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If correct this means fuel costs almost 3 times more in the UK (!)

Why is this? I'm guessing our huge tax on fuel pays for healthcare etc. And in the USA their relative lack of fuel tax means healthcare has to be paid for by individuals, not the state.

Any other thoughts?

About that, yes. Take a look at this website : http://www.whatgas.com/car-finance/fuel-duty.html

Here you can see the breakdown, and it is quite clear that there is approximately 178% tax on fuel.

The US does not have that - with 2 consequences.

1. The price of fuel in the US seems much less stable. If the cost goes from 25p/l to 50p/l it has doubled painfully. In the UK it would only have gone up by perhaps 15%.

2. The UK tax revenues are pretty impressive compared the the US. Presumably they expect their businesses to do better that we do.

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I didn't know US gallons differed from UK gallons. Thanks for pointing it out.

That's exactly why I posted it here first :)

Your in good company. A few American airline pilots didn't know either when they filled up the tanks of their Airbuses and took charge of the most expensive gliders in history :D

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A fuel tax is the fairest way of taxing road use. Road pricing would be cumbersome, expensive, and used as a means of tracking people's movements.

Drive long distances, pay more tax.

Drive a big vehicle, pay more tax.

Drive an innefficient vehicle, pay more tax.

The flaw is that fuel is taxed too much already. We pay fuel tax, VAT , and VAT on the fuel tax. And road tax, for crappy roads.

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ok, thanks for the help with this...

Here are the corrected figures -

UK

£1.44 per litre in UK

1 UK litre = 0.26 US gallons

0.26 US gallons is £1.44 in UK

1 US gallon is £5.76 approx in UK

£5.76 x 1.6 = $9.21 per gallon approx (UK cost in dollars)

USA

$3.89 per gallon

1 US gallon = 3.78 litres

3.89 / 3.78 = $1.02 per litre

$1.02 / 1.6 = 63p per litre (US cost in sterling)

So what we pay £1.44 for in the UK, a typical price in the USA would be 63p. Less than half.

A fuel tax is the fairest way of taxing road use. Road pricing would be cumbersome, expensive, and used as a means of tracking people's movements.

Drive long distances, pay more tax.

Drive a big vehicle, pay more tax.

Drive an innefficient vehicle, pay more tax.

The flaw is that fuel is taxed too much already. We pay fuel tax, VAT , and VAT on the fuel tax. And road tax, for crappy roads.

ok, so if these taxes are for road upkeep in the UK, what pays for roads in the USA? How do they raise this money?

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ok, so if these taxes are for road upkeep in the UK, what pays for roads in the USA? How do they raise this money?

In the UK I doubt much fuel & road tax goes on building/ maintaining roads. More seems to be spent on speed humps and painting double yellow lines ( a lot of them illegally, I have discovered) .

In the US the Department of Transportation pays. State DOTpays for highways. Interstates are paid by federal DOT. City roads are paid by city taxes. So there are 3 levels of tax paying for different types of road.

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Your in good company. A few American airline pilots didn't know either when they filled up the tanks of their Airbuses and took charge of the most expensive gliders in history :D

Sounds like an urban myth to me. Aircraft fuel is measured in lbs or kg because of the variations in air pressure / temperature, and also because it's the most important thing to know about an aircraft, it's total weight.

Aircraft fuel guages display in lbs or kg, at least, the ones I've seen are. Probably digital these days too.

Edit: Even if gallons were ordered by an American pilot (which he wouldn't, it would be lbs weight), he would have MORE than he expected, not less, due to the difference.

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Sounds like an urban myth to me. Aircraft fuel is measured in lbs or kg because of the variations in air pressure / temperature, and also because it's the most important thing to know about an aircraft, it's total weight.

Aircraft fuel guages display in lbs or kg, at least, the ones I've seen are. Probably digital these days too.

Edit: Even if gallons were ordered by an American pilot (which he wouldn't, it would be lbs weight), he would have MORE than he expected, not less, due to the difference.

Indeed you are right. I stand corrected.

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It's not really that the gallon is diferent, in that they are both eight pints, but the pint is defined as 20 fluid ounces in the UK, 16 in the States. But the fluid ounces are not the same either, but close enough that they can be treated as such for most calculations.

The US pint was made such that one pint of 15% wine has a mass of 1lb

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Sounds like an urban myth to me. Aircraft fuel is measured in lbs or kg because of the variations in air pressure / temperature, and also because it's the most important thing to know about an aircraft, it's total weight.

Aircraft fuel guages display in lbs or kg, at least, the ones I've seen are. Probably digital these days too.

Not quite! Our pilots at the DZs just shout fill it up, namely as the drop load can vary enormously, you get light people like myself and most women, who are sub 10stone. Then you get anything in between. There is a massive bloke at our DZ and you can feel the CoG on the plane shift when he goes out the door. Surprisingly he rides a TINY canopy as well, see those small pub pool tables? He rides a canopy about that big.

Then you also get passengers getting onboard in flight :lol:

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About that, yes. Take a look at this website : http://www.whatgas.c.../fuel-duty.html

Here you can see the breakdown, and it is quite clear that there is approximately 178% tax on fuel.

The US does not have that - with 2 consequences.

1. The price of fuel in the US seems much less stable. If the cost goes from 25p/l to 50p/l it has doubled painfully. In the UK it would only have gone up by perhaps 15%.

2. The UK tax revenues are pretty impressive compared the the US. Presumably they expect their businesses to do better that we do.

There's another factor that isn't being taken into account, which is that the typical American car is a lot less fuel efficient than its UK equivalent. Engines are bigger, they are lower revs/higher torque, they almost all have automatic transmission and they use a lower grade of fuel (typically 87 RON compared to 95 here). I'm currently in AK and getting around 20-22mpg out of the 2.5 litre (relatively low-powered: in bogstandard saloons, 3 to 4 litre engines are widespread) VW Jetta I currently have as a hire car, which seems to be a pretty typical and unremarkable saloon for these parts. That's probably around 25-27 miles to an imperial gallon. Nowadays, you'd expect to get at least 40 out of this car's British equivalent, and a much higher proportion of the five-seat saloons and hatchbacks on Britain's roads are diesels that do 50-60.

Agreed totally that the cost of petrol here fluctuates far more, thanks to a lower proportion of the retail price being tax. Once you weigh up all the relevant factors and all other tihngs being equal, though, I would guess that a typical middle-class American probably spends a similar proportion of their income on petrol to that which we do.

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I would guess that a typical middle-class American probably spends a similar proportion of their income on petrol to that which we do.

I don't agree. Do you have any data to suggest this is so? We'd have to look at income levels I suppose.

But my gut instinct says it isn't so, simply because even low earners in the US tend to drive large gas guzzling vehicles. Sure they might downsize compared to their rich neighbour, but it's all relative. Their neighbour may drive a hummer!

If they spend the same relative amount of their income on fuel as we do, how on earth can lower income households afford to drive large vehicles & still live comfortably?

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If they spend the same relative amount of their income on fuel as we do, how on earth can lower income households afford to drive large vehicles & still live comfortably?

I don't have any hard data: just a gut feeling based on the subjective data of how much my credit card gets whacked for every time I fill up my rental car in Fairbanks (admittedly only 7-10 times a year) and my fiancee fills up her very similar vehicle (once or twice a week), compared to what petrol costs me here in the UK. In cash terms, I'm probably paying about the same per mile to fuel a 2.5 litre VW Jetta here as I am my 1.25 litre Fiesta back home.

Because so much more of the retail price of road fuel is tax in the UK than it is in the US. Because fuel is not taxed as highly in the US, more people can afford to run less efficient vehicles. If you drive the same amount of miles each year, the same percentage of your income spent on fuel will allow you to drive a less efficient vehicle in the US than it would in the UK.

It's not even as if those lower income US families have the option of downsizing to a more efficient car very easily. Supermini type vehicles (Micra, Clio, Fiesta etc.) are sold in such small numbers in the US (or at least, the parts of it that I'm familiar with), that the cost of them is significantly higher than that of a Detroit guzzler.

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Sounds like an urban myth to me. Aircraft fuel is measured in lbs or kg because of the variations in air pressure / temperature, and also because it's the most important thing to know about an aircraft, it's total weight.

Aircraft fuel guages display in lbs or kg, at least, the ones I've seen are. Probably digital these days too.

Edit: Even if gallons were ordered by an American pilot (which he wouldn't, it would be lbs weight), he would have MORE than he expected, not less, due to the difference.

There was an Air Canada flight that ran out of fuel on a flight from Montreal to Edmonton and had to glide in to an airport near Winnipeg a few years ago when they changed from imperial to metric weights for fuelling. Given that 1lb is roughly 45% of a kg, it is no surprise that Winnipeg is roughly half way between Montreal and Edmonton.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider

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Sounds like an urban myth to me. Aircraft fuel is measured in lbs or kg because of the variations in air pressure / temperature, and also because it's the most important thing to know about an aircraft, it's total weight.

Aircraft fuel guages display in lbs or kg, at least, the ones I've seen are. Probably digital these days too.

Edit: Even if gallons were ordered by an American pilot (which he wouldn't, it would be lbs weight), he would have MORE than he expected, not less, due to the difference.

There was a case in the US of a plane running out of fuel due to confusion with putting the right amount in (I think it was an metric / Imperial screwup, along with some checks that should've been done but weren't). They managed to land it on a disused airfield without any significant damage. Also IIRC the van the mechanics were driving to it to fix it also ran out of fuel on the way.

Ah, found it - search for Gimli Glider.

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Your in good company. A few American airline pilots didn't know either when they filled up the tanks of their Airbuses and took charge of the most expensive gliders in history :D

Even better, or worse, there was a case in Canada some years ago where the pilot did not realise that the fuel was delivered in litres not gallons.

Edit to correct:

Sorry, as posted above it was confusion between lbs and kilograms.

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Sounds like an urban myth to me. Aircraft fuel is measured in lbs or kg because of the variations in air pressure / temperature, and also because it's the most important thing to know about an aircraft, it's total weight.

Aircraft fuel guages display in lbs or kg, at least, the ones I've seen are. Probably digital these days too.

Edit: Even if gallons were ordered by an American pilot (which he wouldn't, it would be lbs weight), he would have MORE than he expected, not less, due to the difference.

You would tend to buy the fuel by the gallon and do the conversion. Rough and ready factors are 8lbs per imperial gallon for jet fuel, 7lbs per imperial gallon for avgas, 7lbs per American gallon for jet fuel and 6lbs per American gallon for avgas.

The people flying turbines and some high end piston types tend to think of fuel burn in lbs per hour whereas the people flying piston types tend to think in gallons per hour. Doubtless the frogs think in kilos and litres.

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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