Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gas is $7 a Gallon in Croatia

In every town and city we visit the streets are jammed with cars - mostly fairly new ones. Parking is next to impossible even though this is the off season when tourists have all but deserted Zadar and most of the Dalmatian coastline. We continually see student drivers on the streets in very prominently marked vehicles...sometimes these are typical teens but sometimes they are teens parents or even grandparents driving for the first time.

However, when you drive from town to town... for example, 40 minutes from Zadar to Starigrad for a refreshing hike up in Paklinica National Park after a long day of sweating over an Internet Cafe keyboard, there is no one on the roads between towns. A few busloads of German pensioners on cheap off-season tours, a few trucks of produce bound for mega stores, a handful of expensive cars with EU plates, and that is it. We drive alone on highways for sometimes miles.

When at dusk we saw two backpack laden kids hitchhiking on the main coast road to Zadar, I make my husband stop immediately. "This car is too tiny for their packs!" he exclaims, but I persist. "We may be the only car going by tonight that will pick them up and it is cold outside." He agrees we very well may be the kids only chance at a ride into town and somehow we all squeeze.

Why so little traffic between towns? Gas prices. Just because you can get the credit here for a shiny new car to nip around town ostentatiously, does not mean you have cash for gas for trips longer than a couple of miles. So all this insane car buying, driving lessons, and parking nightmares, etc., is for cars that people use for trips they could easily walk or use cheap, clean, easily available public transport for. They are as car-mad here in Croatia as they are in Serbia. It has nothing to do with need and a lot to do with status.

$7 a gallon. When I visit the US, I will never complain about the pump prices again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW that is very expensive.
This is why it's most economical to drive a Diesel car in Serbia.

The new cars all have diesel models, and you usually get twice the ammount of mileage to a tank than you do to a benzin/gas powered car.