If there is any one product priced by perception, it is gasoline.  In the US, drivers howl when fuel approaches $4 a gallon.  In Europe, the cost of gas is twice that and drivers bear the burden.  Why the disparity?  Gasoline from the beginning in the US has been a commodity that was taxed less to promote driving.  Only in a few states like California are taxes higher.  Where I live, gas is still in the $3.80 range per gallon.  European drivers envy my lot.  Yet, if the US is ever to curb fuel consumption, it will need to get the price of gasoline closer to that of Europe — and perhaps, higher.  Pity the politicians who propose this, however.  It would be a public relations disaster for them and their futures in office.  So, Americans go on year after year guzzling more fuel than any other country in the world.  We talk about conservation, but we are not ready to do it — at least not if it requires paying more at the pump.

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