Gas prices that make drivers queasy at the pump are a relatively new occurrence in the United States, but persistently high prices forced Europeans to curtail their fuel consumption long ago. (In many countries, government taxes account for more than half the price.) Highways are filled with fuel-efficient Smart cars and Minis, most cities have highly developed public transportation systems, and green-minded policies have spawned everything from special bicycle lanes to downtown congestion charges. Now the current surge in the price of oil has many Europeans asking how much leaner they can become. “This concerns everyone who drives,” Ms. Schneberger said. “And that makes a lot of angry people.” Indeed, protests broke out across the Continent this week as irate port workers clashed with the riot police in Marseille and truckers stopped traffic in London to demand government fuel rebates. On Thursday, the protests spread to truckers in the Netherlands and French farmers blocked the entrance to oil depots. Italian and Spanish fishermen were planning strikes for Friday.Frugal Ben Says: What kind of comfort should we take from seeing middle class people under attack from international forces? It's time for middle class people to recognize that the problems they face are not just local problems. Political corruption and ignorant politicians are corroding middle class life everywhere.
Jun 1, 2008
Irate Europeans Protest the Soaring Price of Gasoline
Katrin Bennhold reports that the European middle class is also under attack via high gasoline prices: