Recalculated for affordability: A few days ago we published a list of EU fuel prices, the cheapest being Poland and Estonia. But the price at the pump does not give us the whole picture, until compared to average wages.

image car filled at pump

Bulgaria, Romania, work hard to earn a tankful

Reddit user “Falkenhirn” took the time to crunch the numbers and compare against the average wages in the respective EU countries, to see how affordable the petrol really is. The additional calculation: how much it costs for 100 litres of E95, based on average wage and 160 hours per month.

In Poland we go from second-cheapest, to 7th most expensive. Estonia goes from cheapest, to a costly 11th-most-expensive.
The “cheapest” become the UK, Austria, Sweden and Luxembourg. Taste the irony.

While it only applies to purchases by wage earners – not companies – and it’s not necessarily a true reflection of actual spending power – it paints a very different picture, turning the price table almost upside down.

On the surface Romania and Bulgaria seemed to benefit from low fuel prices at the pump – but when adjusted for the locals income, not so much. Romanians must work an astounding 53 hours to buy 100L of petrol, almost seven working days.

A dramatic aspect is the difference between most and least: Romanians have almost 10 times more work to do than Luxembourgians for their fuel.

So here they are, ranked by weighted-most-expensive.

European Union petrol price rankings adjusted by average wage

Country Hours work to buy 100L Price of E95 per litre
Romania 53.16 1.148
Bulgaria 52.83 1.072
Latvia 46.53 1.102
Lithuania 36.82 1.141
Hungary 32.41 1.077
Slovakia 30.06 1.249
Poland 26.84 1.064
Czech Republic 25.45 1.154
Croatia 25.24 1.191
Portugal 20.95 1.384
Estonia 20.18 1.05
Slovenia 19.98 1.241
EU Average 19.78 1.344
Greece 18.09 1.427
Malta 15.36 1.35
Italy 13.62 1.478
Cyprus 12.17 1.196
Spain 11.19 1.174
Ireland 9.38 1.339
France 9.33 1.297
Belgium 9.32 1.300
Finland 9.27 1.436
Germany 9.22 1.334
Netherlands 8.56 1.497
Denmark 8.47 1.457
United Kingdom 8.42 1.489
Austria 7.98 1.157
Sweden 7.58 1.338
Luxembourg 5.66 1.126

This does give a great perspective on things, but somehow saying “UK petrol is cheap” just feels wrong.

One thing this illustrates is how governments will raise fuel tax in line with affordability, and how much drivers pay in fuel tax – usually from salaries they have already been taxed on – for the privilege of driving.

SEE ALSO: Polish drivers’ “responsible to stop” for pedestrians will “turn upside down everything we know”

So does anyone have below average rankings both at pump prices, and days-worked for 100 litres?
Yes. Austria, Belguim, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Germany, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

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