How Many Liters of Gas Can You buy with an Average Balkans Salary?
Since June 2014, crude oil price has fallen more than 70% percent on the world market. The cost of oil plunged so much that travel through the Suez Canal became unprofitable, since the voyage around the Africa became cheaper. The price of refined oil, on the other hand, is not so dependant on the world market, at least not in the Balkans. Although the prices of crude oil have fallen, the refined oil prices have changed not so drastically. The reason for the minor change in prices are high taxes. The "real" price of the refined oil (without taxes) is in most cases less than 50% of the retail price paid on gas stations.
According to GlobalPetrolPrices.com the change in fuel prices in the Balkan region between June 2015 and January 2016 were from 0% (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to -20% in Montenegro. The unleaded (95 RON) gasoline retail price in February 2016 was lowest in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Hungary (less than 1 euro). Balkan countries with most expensive gas are Romania and Greece, where drivers pay more than 1,2 euros per liter of unleaded gas. The difference in prices caused the smuggling of gas across the borders.
What is the biggest difference in gas prices in the Balkans? It's the purchasing power of the buyers. The average salary in the Balkans ranges from 356 to 1069 euros. Workers in Serbia and Albania earn the least, while the Greeks earn almost three Serbian or Albanian salaries per month.
So, how much gas can people of the Balkans really buy with an average salary, and who can buy the most? The ratio of gas price and average salary is the worst in Albania, where an average worker can fill up his tank with a monthly salary up to 320 liters. The ratio is a bit more favorable in Serbia, BiH, Macedonia and Romania, where one average salary is worth less than 400 liters of gas. The situation for drivers is slightly better for the Bulgarian and drivers from Montenegro, since they can buy between 400 and 500 liters of unleaded gas with a month's salary. Hungarians can buy more than 500 liters, Slovenians and Croatians between 600 i 700 liters, while Greeks can purchase 884 liters of gas with a month's salary check.
Greeks do have the best salary - gas price ratio, but imagine someone with a Greek salary filling their tank on Bulgarian gas station. I do envy those Greeks living along the Bulgarian border. The best save on gas I can do this summer is tank up in Macedonia on my way to Greece. I suggest you do the same.