Daniel Susco
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Saudi Arabians Enraged as Gas Prices Surge to About 0.76$ Per Gallon

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The rest of the world struggles to find sympathy

Saudi Arabian Flag

Saudi Arabian Flag
Image: yasser zareaa

It is extremely doubtful that you (or any driver, really) has missed the fact that gas prices are dropping like it’s Petroleum Black Friday. Generally, this means that people are buying more cars, and specifically buying more SUVs and trucks than ever. For the automakers, this news couldn’t be better, as sales climb and climb and climb.

However, things are extremely less celebratory in Saudi Arabia. The country recently announced the largest budget deficit on record, and so will be cutting its fuel and utility subsidies, causing gas prices to rise by 50%.

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The Saudi Arabians, used to low, subsidized gas prices, are very upset by this turn of events. Things sound grim for the oil powerhouse, as we can sympathize with rising gasoline prices.

So, what obscene price are the Saudi Arabians about to pay for their gasoline? 0.90 riyals per liter for premium and 0.75 riyals per liter for regular. So how much is that in US dollars? The horrifically gouging price of 0.24$ per liter for premium and 0.20$ per liter for regular. Or, since we do things in gallons, about 0.91$ per gallon for premium and about 0.76$ per gallon for regular.

Premium gasoline benefits gas pump

Oh. Well, then.

Hmm. Sympathy is a little harder to come by, hearing that. By sheer numbers, we haven’t had that kind of prices since the 1970s, and when adjusted for inflation, we have never had prices that low. But what if Saudi Arabians make less money?

Well, according to Salary Explorer, the median Saudi Arabian salary is 12,000 riyals, which is 144,000 riyals per year or 38,391.30$ in the US. The median US salary was 53,657$ in 2014, according to the Census Bureau.

That means the median Saudi Arabian makes more or less 28% less than the median American.

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Now, the average national gas price for regular for December was 1.999$ per gallon (according to AAA). So, for the median Saudi Arabian to pay, qualitatively, what the median American pays for gas, they would have to pay, more or less, 1.43$ per gallon, or about 0.38$ per liter. For premium, the current average is $2.51 per gallon, so the Saudi Arabian equivalent would be about 1.81$ per gallon, or 0.48$ per liter.

Or, in other words, qualitatively (that is, adjusting for a difference in median income and assuming all other factors scale the same), even with gas prices falling so low, the average American still pays almost twice what the average Saudi Arabian pays for gasoline.

You may now resume not really feeling bad for the Saudi Arabian gas price hike.

Sources: Yahoo News, US Census Bureau, Salary Explorer, Inflationdata.com, AAA Fuel Gauge Report