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Five Shocking Gas Prices Around the Globe

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While American drivers are spooked by $4-per-gallon gasoline prices in the U.S., they may be shell-shocked on other continents like Europe.

In London, gas was $8.17 per gallon in March, and in Istanbul, Turkey the price was $9.63, according to DailyFinance.

Leah McGrath Goodman, author of The Asylum: The Renegades Who Hijacked the World's Oil Market, said at least two factors contribute to the variance in global gas prices.  First, countries that produce their own oil have lower prices.  Second, different governments choose to subsidize or tax citizens for purchasing gas.

Here are five national averages around the globe:

1. Japan: $6.77 a gallon

The aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan led not only to an increase in global oil prices but also gas prices in Japan, according to Charles Dewhurst, national energy practice leader with BDO.

2. United States: $3.79 a gallon

The U.S. is in the "middle" range of countries in terms of gas prices, said Goodman.  About 15 cents per gallon of gas actually comprise state and federal taxes, which is relatively low according to Dewhurst.

3. Libya: 52 cents a gallon

Dewhurst said Moammar Gadhafi has had a long-standing policy during his 42-year reign of subsidizing the price of oil for its citizens.

4. Venezuela: 12 cents a gallon

While many consumers and businesses in the U.S. say high gas prices are hurting the economy, Venezuelans are concerned that gas prices are too low there.  Cheap, widely-available gas domestically could reduce the oil available to the country for export, an important source of revenue in Venezuela.  But citizens in Venezuela, who already suffer from high inflation, would also suffer because of higher gas prices.

5. Germany: $8.35 a gallon

Gas in Europe most closely resembles premium gas in the U.S., according to Jonathan Cogan, a spokesman at the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Energy Department.  In March, unleaded premium in Germany ran $8.35 per gallon, said the International Energy Agency.  At the time, regular unleaded gas was $3.56 a gallon in the U.S.

While European citizens have grown accustomed to high gas prices, Goodman said, American citizens may be more vulnerable to high prices because public transportation is less widespread here.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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