FOR motorists in many countries the cost of filling up a car has never been so great. As the gasoline price in America has moved towards the $4 a gallon ($1.06 cents per litre) mark, it has become a entangled in the election campaign. In February, America's drivers were paying 93 cents a litre, 12% more than they were a year earlier. However, the cost in other rich nations may offer some comfort. Italians are forking out over 18% more than they did 12 months ago; only the Dutch and the Norwegians now pay more for fuel. Despite paying record prices at the pump, Britons have seen lower fuel-price inflation than most because of a freeze on a planned increase in duty. Much of the increase is down to the oil price, which has risen by 15% because of supply concerns.