Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo from Stockholm, Sweden

Today is the 5th of May. Cinco de Mayo if you will. Den femte maj if you really will. And we will indeed.

Unfortunately, in a stunning display of cultural insensitivity I saw no one celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Strange. What with Sweden being so close to Mexico and all. But so it goes. Apparently the Swedes aren’t so interested in celebrating the Mexicans victory over the French nearly 150 years ago. Silly Swedes.
I celebrated by going to work. And eating fried zucchini lovingly prepared by DCP. And then eating bacon and eggs. A glorious evening all in all.

But anyway, to the happenings in Sweden, because who are we kidding, my dinner, no matter how delicious, just isn’t that interesting.

And so I bring you the news. Gas prices in Sweden are on the rise. Because they aren’t very high already. About 13 SEK per liter. About 6 SEK per dollar. About 4 liters per gallon. That’s a lot of dollars per gallon. And now thanks to a strengthening dollar, and the continued rise in oil prices, and of course the normal summer price increase, Swedes can expect even higher gas prices.

Someone out there probably knows exactly what percentage of the price goes to taxes. I don’t. I’ve been told the number numerous times. And for some reason, despite it being pretty solid, I can’t remember what it is. But it’s a lot. And it seems gas taxes are something that most Swedes can agree on. Very seldom do you hear a lot of outcry against the gas prices being so high. Or the gas taxes being so high. It’s very interesting to me. Especially considering Billary’s plan to revoke the gas tax for a little bit during the summer. To ease the burden she says. Despite the outcry from economist’s everywhere saying it’s a bad idea. Unfortunately, to my dismay, people don’t always listen to the economists.

Anyway, the gas price phenomenon blows my mind. Because 13 SEK per liter is a lot. There’s no way around it. But no one seems to mind that much. I guess it just comes back to Swedes being very comfortable with the idea of paying high taxes. In contrast to the Americans.

But, in order to fully embrace my Americanness I’m still going to drive a bit this summer. Because damn it. I have a car. And an American driver’s license that is legitimate for a little while longer at least. And there is still plenty of Sweden to explore.

And in case you were really interested, a Swedish beaver attacked a four year old girl. Apparently she wanted to pet it.

Welcome to Sweden. Where gas prices rise. And beavers attack.


  1. Regarding the price of gas and the tax amount of it, assuming a gas price of 12.89 SEK / liter ($8.25 USD / gallon):

    Base untaxed price: 5.49 SEK / liter ($3.51 USD / gallon)
    Energy Tax: 2.76 SEK / liter ($1.76 USD / gallon)
    CO2 Tax: 2.06 SEK / liter ($1.32 USD / gallon)
    VAT (25%) on top of the base price AND the Energy Tax AND the CO2 Tax: 2.57 SEK / liter ($1.64 USD / gallon)

    Total tax amount: 7.39 SEK / liter ($4.73 USD / gallon)
    So the total tax share of the pump price is about 57% with the current prices.

  2. Tim you are a good man. And that's a lot of taxes by the by.

    Now anyone have the number breakdown for the US?

  3. Hairy,
    Gas tax is all the rage right now here in the U.S. Some of our brilliant politicians have come up with a plan of temporarily suspending the gas tax for the summer driving the short term fixes!
    The federal gas tax in the U.S. is 18.4 cents.
    If a gallon of gas is 3.90 U.S. then heres the breakdown

    Distribution Costs, Marketing Costs and Profits $0.13
    Crude Oil Cost $2.86
    Refinery Cost and Profits $0.24
    State Underground
    Storage Tank Fee $0.01
    State and Local Sales Tax $0.29
    State Excise Tax $0.18
    Federal Excise Tax $0.18
    Retail prices $3.90

  4. We need to bring back the bumper sticker:

    Born Free - Taxed to Death!!

  5. Good work Travis. Yeah I love how economists everywhere are deriding that plan. And she even admitted to it probably being really hard to get through. Just trying to get in touch with the working class she says. And then she loans herself $6.4 million for her campaign. That's very working class of her.

    But anyway, thanks for the numbers. Not a whole lot of tax going into the American gas.

    And anonymous. I love the irony of that being on a bumper sticker considering the topic is taxatin of gas.