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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

Fuel surcharges impact international fares



By Clark Howard


What you pay as a base fare for an international flight may be cheap, but beware of huge add-on fuel surcharges. In many cases, they can drive up the price of a ticket by hundreds of dollars.

So the base fare may be $80 roundtrip and by time you're done, you're paying $1,200! That includes government fees, taxes, and airline-imposed junk fees and fuel surcharges.

The reality is for international, the fare is not the fare until you add in all various types of junk fees.

Just as an example, on a staff trip a couple years ago, the base fare was $66 to Italy. But the final fare was $658 roundtrip.

Inquiring minds want to know, why are we paying more for a barrel of oil at a time when our domestic oil producers are using new methods of exploration to dramatically increase the amount of oil they're pulling out of the ground?

The truth is, we are no longer in control of the price of oil and refined gasoline. The oil market is a worldwide one.

China, India and the rest of the Third World are developing at a rapid pace. You have people going from foot to scooters in the poorest nations, while car registrations are exploding in those Third World countries that have a bit more money. It's like there's a motorized revolution taking place outside the First World.

Our demand in the U.S. no longer determines the price of oil. That is the reality of the situation!