If the price of UK fuel is slaughtering your finances, look away now. Or move to the socialist paradise of Venezuela where fuel costs around 8p a litre.

That's £4.48 to fill up a VW Golf. And your monthly fuel bill would plummet to under 3% of your salary. But the real fuel pump winners, by some margin, are Qataris.


What pump pain?

That's because the percentage of Qatari monthly income spent on fuel is just 0.40%. Fuel so cheap it's almost free. You will pay just 12p per litre for fuel, or £8.40 to fill a family saloon like Ford's Mondeo. Yet the average monthly income is £3,664.92 compared to Venezuela's £354.48.

In terms of fuel monthly spend, Saudi Arabia is not far behind at 0.98% of the total monthly wage bill. Kuwait (1.2%) and Bahrain (1.81%) also beat Venezuela. But Qataris enjoy increasing high wages - and super-cheap petrol and diesel.


The data, compiled by car retailer Evans Halshaw and This is Money, claims fuel is so cheap in Venezuela that petrol smuggling is now bigger business than drug smuggling. Near neighbours like Colombia pay more than 40 times the price for petrol.


Fuming

Venezuela has huge oil reserves but fuel has been subsidised since the 1940s. When the government attempted to hike fuel prices in 1989, many people rioted. There were many deaths.

But Venezuela also has galloping inflation - around 20% - and, despite the cheap petrol, the poorest of the population don't benefit: they're can't afford to run a car.

Air pollution and traffic congestion is terrible in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital; huge SUVs and American gas guzzlers from the 1970s are common. It's almost a huge car park, so be careful what you wish for.


Free fuel for some

But if you dream of free fuel, you can have it. Move to energy-rich Turkmenistan where owners of vehicles up to 3.5 tons are entitled to 720 litres of free fuel every six months. Worth around £1,972 a year at average UK pump prices of £1.37p per litre.

Yet the average monthly wage in Turkmenistan remains around £170 a month and fuel, on average, can still cost many 18% of wages, despite the Government bung. (The former Soviet state though reserves its biggest love for horses, not cars. In 2004, ex-president Saparmurat Niyazov lashed out on a £12m leisure centre for horses, including a swimming pool, air conditioning plus medical facilities - to give you an idea of Government priorities.)

Lastly, don't move to Greece where your monthly fuel bill will eat 25% of your annual income. It's even worse in Turkey (34.2%) and Eritrea (61.1%). Which puts the UK's current fuel pain somewhat in perspective.



Top ten cheapest countries for fuel

10. Iran
Price per litre: 21p Monthly cost: £25.36

Income (after tax): £388.68 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 6.53 per cent

9. Algeria
Price per litre: 17p Monthly cost: £20.53

Income (after tax): £173.26 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 11.85 per cent

8. Kuwait
Price per litre: 17p Monthly cost: £20.53

Income (after tax): £1,703.98 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 1.2 per cent

7. Turkmenistan
Price per litre: 17p Monthly cost: £20.53

Income (after tax): £115.42 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 17.79 per cent

6. Libya
Price per litre: 15p Monthly cost: £18.12

Income (after tax): £544.94 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 3.32 per cent

5. Bahrain
Price per litre: 15p Monthly cost: £18.12

Income (after tax): £998.19 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 1.81 per cent

4. Qatar
Price per litre: 12p Monthly cost: £14.49

Income (after tax): £3,664.92 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 0.40 per cent

3. Saudi Arabia
Price per litre: 10p Monthly cost: £12.08

Income (after tax): £1,234.78 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 0.98 per cent

2. Egypt
Price per litre: 9p Monthly cost: £10.87

Income (after tax): £247.35 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 4.39 per cent

1. Venezuela
Price per litre: 8p Monthly cost: £9.66

Income (after tax): £354.48 Percentage of monthly income spent on petrol: 2.73 per cent



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