Ryan Burns' article "Gasoline Kings" (July 5) is a prime example of the engineered decline of the American economy and the abolishment of the middle class.

The left tends to blame corporations and THE right tends to blame government for our economic problems; the left and the right are the chipped wings of the freedom bird. The problem with our economy is lack of freedom. Mussolini defined fascism as government and corporation cooperation.

Most Americans are unaware that in 2011 the U.S. exported more oil to foreign nations than it imported. There is a rapid shift in the global order wherein China will soon replace the United States as the primary economic driver. In the past decade China has built 25 new oil refineries. America has not constructed a new oil refinery since 1976. In the past five years major oil companies have been closing oil refineries in America. Sunoco is in the process of closing its two Pennsylvania refineries and ConocoPhillips will soon shut down its refineries in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Bush administration claimed oil from Iraq would pay for the war. Thus far the American people have not seen this happen. It's a slap in every American's face. To date, the U.S. has spent a trillion dollars on the Iraq war, with nearly 4,500 casualties and tens of thousands wounded. Meanwhile Americans are falsely told that our economic system is capitalism and it's a bad thing. Nations are not defined by capital; they are defined by who controls the capital: The state or the people. In America we have a private free enterprise system; its real name is freedom.

Gene Owens, Fortuna


With regard to the recent article on gas prices in Humboldt County, there are a few things you missed. To quickly summarize, assume a crude oil cost of 84 dollars a barrel, which is two dollars a gallon. Assume gas is selling for $3.50 a gallon before sales tax to make life easy. The transportation cost to the refinery from the Middle East is probably near 10 cents a gallon. You assume 15 percent refining cost, which is another 30 cents.

Federal and state excise taxes are 53.7 cents a gallon (source: Net between producer and consumer is $3.50 - $0.537 = 2.963. You said that refining costs about 15 percent, which is about 45 cents. Distribution cost is about 10 percent, which is another 30 cents.

Total cost to the delivering station is about $2.963 + $0.45 + $0.30 = $3.72 a gallon. Sales taxes are 7 ¼ percent on gross sales cost. Sales tax at 7 ¼ percent is 27 cents, so the pump price before any profit to pay costs of the station is about $3.99.

This indicates that no one is making much money on gasoline -- except the crude oil suppliers. If you want to gripe about them, I welcome you, but don't blame anyone except the producers themselves.

Marvin Chapman, McKinleyville

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