Norway’s high gas and auto taxes lead to lower gas consumption

Americans, who view cheap oil as a divine birthright and throw a tantrum when gas prices exceed $2, would surely view Norway as a strange and alien land if they, ahem, knew anything about it. Despite the Scandinavian country’s huge oil reserves — it is the world’s third-largest exporter of black gold — gas prices hover around $6.66 (Satan’s price!), roughly two-thirds of which is gas tax. Benighted Norwegians also pay up to $395 a year per vehicle in auto taxes, and import duties substantially jack up the prices of SUVs and large trucks. As a result, per capita oil consumption hovers around 1.9 gallons a day, compared to America’s three gallons. Surely revolt is imminent? Um, no. “There is no political will to change the system,” says radio announcer Torgald Sorli. Perhaps the country’s average income, among the world’s highest, eases the burden a bit. Or maybe it’s the 37.5-hour work week, or the five weeks of vacation. Or the plentiful public transportation. Or maybe they just hate freedom.