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Gas Prices Not Just An American Problem

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Did you hear about the striking Spanish fishermen? Or perhaps the disgruntled French farmers? Maybe the embattled Bulgarian truckers? All of them, and many more workers across Europe who depend on tractors, trucks, boats, and barges to drive commerce, are speaking out against the skyrocketing prices of gas in Europe, which pays about twice as much to fill up a tank than America does.

The Spanish and Portuguese fishing industry, the largest in Europe, is in fact at a stand-still: workers have gone on strike to protest the rapid increase in diesel fuel. Today's article in the L.A. Times is an important reminder of how far America's gas prices have yet to rise:

Fishermen in Spain and Portugal began nationwide strikes Friday, keeping their trawlers and commercial boats docked at ports. In Madrid, demonstrators handed out 20 tons of fish in a bid to win support from the public. In Spain, the European Union's most-important producer of fish, the fishing confederation estimates fuel prices have gone up 320% in the last five years -- so high that many fishermen can no longer afford to take their boats out.

French fishermen and farmers, who need fuel for trawlers and tractors, say their livelihoods are threatened by soaring prices and have blocked oil terminals around France and shipping traffic on the English Channel to demand government help.

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Don't forget that high gas prices also have an effect on the prices of things like food -- high energy costs and demand for biofuels are driving the prices of things like wheat and vegetable oil up as well. Although the striking French truckers are pulling crazy Gallic tricks like blockading major roadways with slow-driving trucks, at least most Europeans have reliable forms of public transportation to keep them moving -- what happens when the same thing happens in L.A.? Photo by Chrissy Olson via Flickr.