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$3.60 a gallon? Try $7.40

February 27, 2008

Yesterday, oil settled at a record high of $100.88 a barrel. I’m too lazy to look up the current price of gas around Cranberry, but according to the NYT, prices at the pump should peak around $3.40 a gallon this spring.

I took one look at these numbers and thought “aww geez.” And then I remembered my bill at the gas station yesterday – $120. 

I don’t drive an SUV. I wasn’t pulling a ‘Reality Bites’ move and filling up other people’s tanks with my credit card. No. At approx. $7.40/gallon**, it costs $120 to fill up my pint sized car. Yes, $7.40. For 1 gallon. That’s more than double the cost of gas back home right now. (!) 

I honestly don’t know how people can afford to live here.  

Belgians are taxed approx. 50% on their income. Food is ridiculously expensive – a small carton of grapes is over $5, X-brand cereal is a minimum $4/box… even X-brand pasta is over $2/box.  Clothing-wise, let’s just say that plain white socks cost double what they would back in the U.S.

And yet… all of the Belgians at my level (who aren’t in client service and thus have to pay for their cars & their gas) drive to work each day in nice cars wearing their uber trendy clothes and leave by 5pm for their cute apartments in the best areas of Brussels. How do they do it??

With their income I’d be taking the bus/train everywhere in last season’s clothes and living in the ghetto.

Maybe they don’t eat? Or travel? Or save any money?

I don’t know. I’m adding this to the list of European things that absolutely mystify me…

(** Number is approximate since it involves me trying to do real world math. I converted the price at my pump of 1.3 Euros/Liter into $/gal using the conversion rate of $1.50/1 Euro – don’t get me started on THAT… stupid U.S. Dollar…- I think $7.40 is about right….)

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