Sunday, May 01, 2005

Oil-rich Norway is taxing on cars

Norway, the world's third-largest oil exporter, is home to perhaps the world's most expensive gasoline. But drivers here greet high pump prices of almost 11 kroner a liter, or $6.60 a gallon, with little more than a shrug. Norway, has been made wealthy by oil, trailing only Saudi Arabia and Russia in exports. Last year alone, oil exports jumped 19 percent to $38.4 billion. But no other major oil exporter has attempted to reel in its own fuel consumption with as much zeal as Norway. These policies have resulted in one of the lowest car-ownership rates in Europe and fuel-efficient Volkswagens and Peugeots far outnumber big sport utility vehicles on its roads. Gasoline, of course, is not the only expensive commodity in Norway, a traditionally frugal and highly taxed nation. At a pub in Oslo, for instance, a pint of beer might cost the equivalent of $12 and an individual frozen pizza $16. But expensive gasoline is rare among large oil-producing countries that often subsidize fuel for their citizens.


At May 01, 2005 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

$12.00 for a pint of beer? Man, that's cause for a revolution! It would be cheaper to purchase a litre of gas and sniff it, right?

At May 01, 2005 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Six-buck gas is tough, but $12 beer is too cruel!! That's downright uncivilized.

Or do Norwegians mix up their own price-is-right brewski and slurp down the noble liquid at home with friends?


At May 03, 2005 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Britain, we pay almost $7 for a gallon of petrol.

All this is necessary to fund the soon to be unveiled socialist Utopia of Blair and Brown.


At May 03, 2005 10:47 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I read this Saturday on a plane to Amsterdam, where I managed to arrive and depart without undergoing involuntary euthanasia and without being assassinated by Islamic fanatics.

This article also suffered from not looking at Norwegian prices from the point of view of a Norwegian worker earning Norwegian-scale wages, but it didn't seem nearly as off-track as Bruce Bawer's recent piece. How much foreign currency one must exchange to purchase stuff in Norway is of little consequence to Norwegians.

I don't recall if the article mentioned how many Norwegians buy their beer in Sweden.

At May 04, 2005 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

quoting Mike V: "I don't recall if the article mentioned how many Norwegians buy their beer in Sweden. "

Yeah, and how many Swedes buy their beer in Denmark and how many Danes buy their beer in Germany.

Scandanavian taxes blow.

I'd call that trickle (travel)down economics!!

At November 17, 2005 11:06 AM, Blogger oskar said...

I've lived in Norway for shorter periods of time and can say that not only are the prices outrageously high, service is below par as well and a lot of the infrastructure is (roads, schools, etc.) is in pretty poor condition.

The reason prices are high and service poor has less to do with taxes than with very high wages for low skilled jobs because of a lack of labor (unwillingness to work couple with lack of migrants from E. Europe, like in other W. European countries). Imagine what would happen to prices in the US if there were no Mexicans or other migrants and poor poeple didn't have to work.

Finally, the problem with poor infrastructure is related to this. Because the economy is so inefficient and inflexible, the Norwegian govt. can't spend its oil wealth in the country , or would cause massive inflation. So roads and schools remain poorly maintained while the money is invested abroad.

A paradox of wealth!


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