BERLIN -- From the country that introduced Americans to ''fahrvergnuegen,'' German for driving pleasure, comes another tongue-twisting emotion in these trying times of sky-high gas prices: ''schadenfreude'' -- happiness at someone else's misfortune.
U.S. drivers who have been fuming over tank-ups costing $1.75 a gallon should take a moment to smugly ponder the plight of Germans and other Europeans who are shelling out $4.50 to $5.75 for the same amount of unleaded.
Adding insult to injury, the leftist politicians in power across the Continent tend to applaud the rising prices as a benefit to both the environment and state coffers that rake in colossal taxes.
Gas prices have long topped $4 a gallon in Europe because of the huge tax bite imposed by most governments and a higher consciousness on this densely populated continent about the environmental damage inflicted by fossil fuel emissions.
But as world oil prices soared to a post-Persian Gulf War high in recent months and Europe's new common currency, the euro, lost clout against the U.S. dollar, by which oil is priced, even the usually stoic Germans have pleaded for relief.
They aren't likely to get it, despite this week's decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to boost production to strike a better balance between supply and fervent demand from the top gas guzzlers in the United States and Japan.
''We still have to pay for supplies in dollars, which is more expensive now due to the drop in the euro value,'' said Juergen Albrecht, an analyst with the German Automobile Club. He predicted little or no drop in prices despite OPEC's move.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.