Humboldt Gas Scam

Over many years, the price of gas at stations in Humboldt County has shown evidence of lack of competition between stations — with the exception of member only and tribal stations, the prices always seem to stay within a few pennies from Garberville to Trinidad, and that price always seems to be 25 to 40 cents higher than the competitive price in Willits.

Yes, part of the issue is that it’s a longer distance to truck gas to Humboldt than to Willits, but local gas is barged rather than trucked, and barging is more efficient and lower cost than trucking.  So something is odd.  Willits has forced competition thanks to a Safeway station that sells gas at low prices.

For convenience, here are links to

The various players in the local market are always saying it’s some other guy, and there are at least three layers, all of which are secretive.

First, the local Chevron terminal, which receives barged fuel from the refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Second, the local jobbers, who purchase gas via the terminal and truck it locally.  Finally, the stations, some but not all of which are owned by the same entities as the jobbers.

If you have information on any part of this process, please post it here, so that we may gradually work out this puzzle.  Thanks.

  1. Tim
  2. Mitch
    October 20, 2012 at 8:38 am | #2

    Here are Arcata gas prices: http://www.motortrend.com/gas_prices/33/california/humboldt/arcata/

    It appears as though a Circle K at 1122 K undersells the Shell at 14th and G by $0.18 a gallon. Anyone know if this is real, or what the story is? It’s certainly a big exception to the tightly grouped prices seen most places.

  3. Mitch
    October 20, 2012 at 8:39 am | #3

    Correction: the station at 1122 K in Arcata is unbranded, not AFAIK Circle K. (The K street must have got me thinking Circle K.)

  4. Tim
    October 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm | #4

    I tried to email this to the times-standard “letter to the editor” a few days ago and I havent received any respnse…

    “Hello and I hope you’re having a nice day!

    Regarding the over-priced gas in Humboldt, and In support of Janine Randall’s letter (“No more tired excuses for gas prices,” Oct. 18th, Times-Standard, Page A4), I don’t understand why this newspaper and others have not brought into the equation such evidence as the listings found at http://www.ackerman-cre.com/GasStationsForSale. There, you’ll find clear comments regarding the profitability of some of our local stations.”

  5. October 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm | #5

    I’ve always found it interesting, traveling as I do frequently to Grants Pass from Eureka, that prices up there are sometimes as much as .11 to .12 less than they are here. Consider to that as mentioned elsewhere, their gas is trucked (from here I understand) and they have to pay people to pump it (and some stations are Unionized), yet they can still sell it way cheaper than here. I’ve always thought something was amiss.

  6. Anonymous
    October 24, 2012 at 7:00 am | #6

    Mitch,
    You should do some research and determine how much less and Oregon gallon of gas costs compared to a California gallon. My understanding is that Oregon has different formula requirements and taxes and make it less expensive, but I don’t know by how much. However, Redwood Eagle’s comment assumes both gallons share the same initial price – I don’t think this is true. In fact, my guess is the Grant’s Pass stations are actually raising their prices because of their proximity to California. Brookings does the same. It may be cheaper in those towns than California, but not as cheap as it could be given their lower overall costs.

    Also, I’ve found gas along the 395 corridor south of Reno (near Lee Vining) to be as or more expensive than Eureka. Is this a similar “gas scam”, and how come it is never mentioned when we say “Eureka has the most expensive gas in the country”?

  7. Anonymous
    October 24, 2012 at 7:02 am | #7

    I see that I have early morning grammar problems… Anyway, here’s a link to the gas prices in Lee Vining:
    http://www.motortrend.com/gas_prices/33/california/mono/lee_vining/

    $5.40/gallon

  8. Pepe
    October 24, 2012 at 7:19 am | #8

    I know that station in Lee Vining, its the Last Chance Texaco.

  9. Mitch
    October 24, 2012 at 7:42 am | #9

    #6,

    Certainly California has created a gasoline island by its anti-pollution rules. I don’t question that. Last I checked, though, Willits is part of California, same as Garberville and Eureka. So if gas is a given price at a station in Willits, it shouldn’t cost more in nearby communities than that price plus the difference in the cost of transportation between Willits and the nearby community.

    Gas is barged to Eureka and trucked to Willits, and barging is, I believe, less expensive.

    But even ignoring that, I don’t understand why gas rises in value by $1,600 or more per 8,000 gallon truckload when it makes the short trip from Willits to Garberville. Yes, I understand that lacking any entrepreneur setting up a relay, trucking from the Bay Area requires an overnight by the trucker. But $1,600 per truckload? You’d think the “free market” would bring that down, wouldn’t you? That’s what the textbooks had to say.

  10. Anonymous
    October 24, 2012 at 11:30 am | #10

    Actually Pepe, the $5.40 is the lowest of three stations (not a single station out in the desert) and gas is similarly priced in Bridgeport. Both of these towns are on a major highway – 395 and both are about 100 miles south of Reno. My point, is there other areas of California with a similar problem – perhaps a “scam” there as well. But, we are not alone.

  11. Mack Prairie
    October 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm | #11

    Thanks for the link to the Arcata gas station for sale. That’s $24,500 in profit off the gas alone each month.

  12. 713
    October 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm | #12

    You should buy it

  13. Tim
    October 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm | #13

    For the record, the link to the for sale stations was not originally mine. I carried it over from another comment stream.

  14. Mitch
    October 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm | #14

    Price at Costco, yesterday, $3.99 per gallon. Buy with their credit card for a 3% rebate, cost is $3.87 per gallon.

    Until there’s a consumer strike on the non-Costco stations, they’ll charge what they can get.

  15. monte
    October 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm | #15

    I travel to Grants Pass all the time. Gas runs about .45 cents less. Partly because of the lack of sales tax. One of the big distributers there is Colvin oil, I have seen their fuel trucks loading their trucks at the Renner docks in Eureka.

  16. Mitch
  17. Plain Jane
    December 29, 2012 at 11:26 am | #17

    That’s interesting Mitch. A co-op selling gas at cost might force the others who exploit the lack of competition. I would love a piece of that.

  18. Eyasharose
    January 28, 2013 at 9:04 am | #18

    According to this web page: http://www.californiagasprices.com/tax_info.aspx there is a 6 cent difference per gallon in the taxes between CA and OR gasoline.

  19. Mitch
    January 28, 2013 at 9:20 am | #19

    Willits, CA, at the Safeway $3.49. Humboldt Special Pricing Zone, $3.77.

  20. January 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm | #20

    Mitch: Keep in mind also, that Oregon requires that gas stations hire people to pump your gas (you can be fined for pumping your own). If anything, that should make prices HIGHER there. ALSO, the gas they pump is the same gas we get, only theirs is trucked from the terminal here in Eureka — another factor that should make their gas more expensive than ours.

  21. Mitch
    January 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm | #21

    Ellis,

    Thanks for the information. As you may know, the purpose of this corner of the Herald is to try to accumulate sufficient information to determine which parties, if any, are behind what certainly appears to be an illegal intervention in the market here in Humboldt. Every bit of input helps.

  22. Anonymous
    February 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm | #22

    Exxon, Chevron Made $71 Billion Profit In 2012 As Consumers Paid Record Gas Prices

    In October, Chevron made the single-largest corporate donation in history. Chevron dropped $2.5 million with the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC to elect House Republicans.

    The bulk of Chevron’s federal contributions came from the super PAC donation, for a total of $3.87 million for the 2012 cycle. 85 percent went to Republicans.

    Chevron spent $9.55 million lobbying Congress in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Chevron paid 19 percent U.S. taxes last year (half of the top corporate tax rate of 35 percent), and received an estimated $700 million in annual tax breaks last year.

    Chevron was fined $1 million for a refinery fire that sent 15,000 Richmond, California residents to the hospital. Though the company faces $10 million in medical expenses, Chevron earns it back in a couple of hours.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/02/01/1525441/exxon-chevron-2012-profit/

  23. Anonymous
    February 9, 2013 at 12:02 am | #23

    just paid $3.79 in Santa Cruz ,, I feel lucky!!!Than Willits was even more That’s funny!!!

  24. February 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm | #24

    We used to live in Santa Cruz (well, Ben Lomond really). Thinking of moving back….

  25. February 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm | #25

    Been buying gas at Costco for past 3 months. It is cheaper, dollar wise. But it sure doesn’t get the gas mileage of Shell or even Patriot. I’m recording a 5 mile per mile difference.

  26. Anonymous
    February 15, 2013 at 12:15 am | #26

    I thought runner owned all the gas coming into humboldt

  27. Anonymous
    February 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm | #27

    Damn auto correct

    I thought RENNER owned all the gas and controlled the prices ?

  28. Dan
    February 16, 2013 at 12:12 am | #28

    Ellis, same octane?

  29. February 26, 2013 at 8:36 am | #29

    In case your pain at the pump is insufficient, it looks like gas taxes are going up.

    from sacbee:

    The State Board of Equalization is expected to approve a gas-tax increase of 3.5 cents-per-gallon at its meeting in Culver City on Tuesday.

    The increase kicks in through a complicated “fuel tax swap” formula that was devised in 2010 to give state officials more flexibility over how fuel taxes are spent.

    However, the formula is based — at least in part — on the price of gas, so if gas prices go up, so does the excise tax, said former state Sen. George Runner, who is now a member of the board.

    Runner told KCRA 3 that he’ll have the issue pulled from the board’s consent agenda Tuesday, so that members can discuss the formula and what Runner thinks is bad timing for consumers — increasing a tax at the same time prices are going up at the pump.

    Read more: http://www.kcra.com/news/Northern-Californians-likely-to-be-hit-with-2-new-gas-price-increases/-/11797728/19078788/-/eiqrms/-/index.html

  30. Just Watchin
    February 26, 2013 at 9:04 am | #30

    Because of increased regulations,refiners are scrambling to get out of California. If they do, gas prices on the West coast may sky rocket.
    http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/article/Valero-may-look-to-shed-California-refineries-3965673.php

  31. Cowboy
    February 26, 2013 at 9:19 am | #31

    Calif economic doldrums are artifically induced. We have gas oil shale fields that dwarf the massive fields in the mid west. The enviro extremists who control the state legislature will never allow the fields to be developed.

  32. February 26, 2013 at 9:30 am | #32

    The number of refineries is dwingling everywhere, not just in California. Its because of industry consolidation (monopoly capitalism) unprecedented since the days of the robber barons and Standard Oil. We broke up Standard Oil once, now we will have to bust up Exxon again. Oh along with Walmart, ABC Disney, Microsoft, and Citbank.

    The environmental controls in place are needed so we can live here. I grew up in So Cal in the 50s and the air was almost unbreathable. In LA and SF its still not great but better than it was 30 years ago.

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  33. Just Watchin
    February 26, 2013 at 9:32 am | #33

    Certainly couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take a shot at Walmart !!!

  34. Anonymous
    February 26, 2013 at 9:37 am | #34

    I paid $4.33 last night at Fairway Market.

  35. Mitch
    February 26, 2013 at 9:59 am | #35

    Willits pricing 2/26/2013:

    Circle K $4.129
    Safeway $4.059
    Lowest Price $4.039
    Chevron $4.119

    Read more: http://www.motortrend.com/gas_prices/33/california/mendocino/willits/#ixzz2M1qO6r6M

    At a difference of $0.30 per gallon, moving 4000 gallons from Willits to Eureka (or Garberville) increases its selling price by $1,200. The round trip from Willits to Eureka takes all of five hours; it’s obviously a shorter trip to Garberville.

    A 4000 gallon tank truck looks like this: http://www.trucktanks.com/img/2.jpg

    The scam continues.

  36. Just Watchin
    February 26, 2013 at 10:27 am | #36

    Some of the work I did in the past included shipping liquid product in 4000 gallon quantities. You are essentially renting the truck for the day. And the drive time is only a part of the process. There are trips to the scale locations, before and after, to verify quantity delivered. Then there are required clean outs, and the residue is handled as a hazardous material. Actually, $ 1200 is right in line, as I recall.

  37. Mitch
    February 26, 2013 at 10:51 am | #37

    Thanks, JW. I’m genuinely interested in the real costs on this; not really for picking up in
    Willits but for doing runs from SF all the way to Humboldt rather than Willits.

    Thing is, all of the costs you’re mentioning already exist in the trip from SF bay area to Willits — the trip to Humboldt just adds five hours of extra driving (requiring an overnight stay by the trucker and truck). I don’t see how that comes to $1,200 per 4,000 gallon load, but it’s not like I know anything about the subject.

    I imagine the deliveries to Willits use something larger than a 4000 gallon tanker, but the cost of used 4000 gallon tanker trucks looks to be anywhere from $25 to $50K. If you’ve followed this discussion, you know that Humboldt’s expensive gas is delivered by barge, which is far less expensive than trucking it.

  38. Just Watchin
    February 26, 2013 at 11:11 am | #38

    Don’t know if this changes your thinking, but truck capacity is generally limited by weight, not necessarily gallons. My experience was in shipping liquids that weighed a little more than 10 pounds per gallons, and the truck capacity maximum, per the DOT, was 43,000 pounds. At 6 pounds per gallon, that same truck could have hauled 7000 gallons of gasoline.

  39. Anonymous
    February 26, 2013 at 11:23 am | #39

    One reason Costco can sell its gasoline for less is that it contains 10% ethanol. Ethanol can play havoc on a car’s motor. Better check your owners manual before you “gas” up there or at other “gas” stations that sell 90% gasoline/10% ethanol mixtures.

  40. Mitch
    February 26, 2013 at 11:43 am | #40

    Nice fear-mongering BS, Anon 11:23. But isn’t all California “gasoline” 10% ethanol?

    http://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/gasoline/faq.htm

  41. Just Watchin
    March 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm | #41

    I just saw where Calif. gas tax is going up by 10% effective July 1st, passing New York as the highest in the country. One state legislator stated it was necessary because Californians are using less gas. Roll that last statement around in your head for a minute.

  42. Anony
    March 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm | #42

    We have the highest income taxes and highest gas taxes in the country. No wonder Texas is taking so many of our businesses away.

  43. March 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm | #43

    If all those businesses were really running away to Texanistan why is that pathetic excuse for Governor of Texanistan here begging for business? Cognitive dissonance. It don’t add up.

    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

  44. 24
    March 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm | #44

    Mitch,
    You have to have a special endorsement to drive a tanker truck, another one for hazardous materials, a separate license from the chp, and undergo a background check. Also the pollution and cargo insurance is very high, probably around $1,000 per month. You can get a regular 18 wheeler for around $100 an hour, it seems reasonable all the extra insurance and endorsements would fetch a higher rate maybe $120? A round trip to Willits might run 8 – 9 hours by the time you load and unload, inspect the truck, paperwork, etc. depending on traffic and delays. There’s profit and overhead in the trucking rates so you might be able to do ok if you drove yourself, but I wouldn’t go out and hire any trucks or drivers.

  45. Just Watchin
    March 2, 2013 at 4:24 am | #45

    highboldtage :
    If all those businesses were really running away to Texanistan why is that pathetic excuse for Governor of Texanistan here begging for business? Cognitive dissonance. It don’t add up.
    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

    Jan Brewer from Arizona was there last week drumming up business. They’re recruiting. And why is it Bill that everytime you don’t like the message, you belittle the messenger? Face it….Calif. is running people and businesses away.

  46. Spellman Ventures
    March 2, 2013 at 6:37 am | #46

    “Rick Perry, Texas Spanger” we can pitch it to Fox.

  47. Anonymoose
    March 2, 2013 at 7:40 am | #47

    highboldtage :
    If all those businesses were really running away to Texanistan why is that pathetic excuse for Governor of Texanistan here begging for business? Cognitive dissonance. It don’t add up.
    have a peaceful day,
    Bill

    Are you serious? He is recruiting.

  48. March 2, 2013 at 7:58 am | #48

    Thanks for the information, 24. I’m not seriously thinking it would be a good idea to haul gas from Willits. I’m thinking that if gas can be hauled from the Bay Area to Willits, it ought to be possible to haul it from the Bay Area to Garberville or Eureka without it suddenly costing an extra $1,000 to $2,000 per tanker the moment it enters Humboldt County.

    The ideal arrangement would be for two or three guys in Willits or Ukiah to buy a tank truck. One does a daily run from Willits to the bay area terminal, loads up, and drives back to Willits. That’s their daily work. The other does a daily run from Willits to service Garberville, Fortuna, Eureka, then back to Willits. That’s their daily work.

    I’m trying to understand why the prices here are so much higher than Willits. If it’s the terminal and/or the jobbers pocketing the extra 25 to 35 cents per gallon beyond what it costs at Willits, it would seem to me that in a free market, the guys in Willits would have a great profit opportunity. If it’s the stations pocketing the difference, then the guys from Willits wouldn’t make it.

    In a free market, if the stations are competing against one another, one would lower its prices to attract increased volume. The proof that you can increase volume by lowering prices is Costco’s station. So I’m led to believe it’s not a free market. I can understand why it wouldn’t be — once you’ve put a million dollars plus into purchasing a gas station, there’s little reason to rock the boat and lower the profit margin per gallon on which your stations’ value depends. I just think it’s illegal behavior to collude on prices.

    People get upset when I use round guesswork numbers, so I won’t work out any rough numbers.

  49. Dan
    March 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm | #49

    ” At 6 pounds per gallon, that same truck could have hauled 7000 gallons of gasoline.” JW

    and at 8.6 lbs per gallon? 5000 gallons.

  50. Just Watchin
    March 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm | #50

    Dan :
    ” At 6 pounds per gallon, that same truck could have hauled 7000 gallons of gasoline.” JW
    and at 8.6 lbs per gallon? 5000 gallons.

    Gasoline weighs 6lbs. Per gallon. What part of that do you not understand?

  51. Dan
    March 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm | #51

    You are just fun JW. Thought I’d mention how much water
    could be shipped by truck, the growers might want to know,
    droughts and all. Oh yeah, that’s closer 8.3 not 8.6, 8.6 fit so nicely
    with 43,000 DOT limitations, 5000 even. Gorgeous day.

  52. Anonymous
    March 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm | #52

    Here’s a concept! Wholesale rack petroleum pricing, published daily on the web. It might make gouging harder if everyone gets to see the wholesale rates. Note that this (need I say it) is in Canada, so the prices are Canadian cents per litre.

    http://www.petro-canada.ca/en/wholesalefuel/5531.aspx

  53. Just Watchin
    March 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm | #53

    Dan :
    You are just fun JW. Thought I’d mention how much water
    could be shipped by truck, the growers might want to know,
    droughts and all. Oh yeah, that’s closer 8.3 not 8.6, 8.6 fit so nicely
    with 43,000 DOT limitations, 5000 even. Gorgeous day.

    8.3454 lbs. per gallon, to be exact.

  54. Mitch
    March 5, 2013 at 7:33 am | #54

    The numbers below are useful for comparing Eureka and another terminal — not for comparing the prices with retail, which includes a whole lot of other costs, including many substantial taxes. Still, it looks like the Chevron terminal in Eureka adds about ten to fifteen cents to our gas costs, and the rest of the twenty-five to forty cent “Humboldt collusion tax” is split between jobbers and stations.

    As of a few days ago, I believe Chevron gas at the Eureka terminal had a “rack rate” of 3.36/gallon, and the rack rate for unbranded is about 3.01/gallon.

    In the SF Bay area the Chevron “rack rate” was 3.20/gallon and the unbranded averaged 2.90/gallon.

  55. That Other Anonymous
    March 12, 2013 at 11:09 am | #55
  56. RefFan
    March 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm | #56

    As of 3/11/13
    Renner in Garberville – $4.09
    Renner in Scotia – $4.14
    Redway Shell – $4.39
    Rio Dell Shell – $4.19

  57. Anonymous
    March 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm | #57

    http://www.californiagasprices.com/Eureka/index.aspx

    Costco (must be member) $4.14 and 3% rebate, everyone else $4.33-$4.39

    http://www.californiagasprices.com/McKinleyville/index.aspx

    Renner (must be member) $4.09 no credit cards, everyone else $4.37-$4.39

  58. Anonymous
    March 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm | #58

    why do I hear some people always mention Rex Bohn’s name when high gas prices are discussed? I cant find any evidence of him having to do with any of this

  59. Bohn Head
    March 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm | #59

    people should be “shot if they make meth.”

  60. Bohn Head
    March 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm | #60

    or at least Bear Maced.

  61. Anonymous
    March 12, 2013 at 3:22 pm | #61

    Costco gas is cheaper but you get less MPG so the savings isn’t so much of a savings

  62. Think Progressive
    March 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm | #62

    Big Oil’s Big Profits, In 24 Hours

    * The five biggest oil companies earned a combined profit of $375 million per day, or a record $137 billion profit for the year, in 2011, despite reducing their oil production.

    * In 60 seconds, these five companies earned $261,000 — more than 96 percent of American households make in one year.

    * These five oil companies received $6.6 million in federal tax breaks every day.

    * In 2011, the three largest domestic public oil companies spent $100 million of their profits each day, or over 50 percent, buying back their own stock to enrich their board, senior managers, and largest share holders.

    * The entire oil and gas industry spent on average $400,000 each day lobbying senators and representatives to weaken public health safeguards and keep big oil tax breaks, totaling nearly $150 million.

    * Each CEO of the Big Five companies received an average of $60,110 in compensation per day last year. On average, their pay jumped 55 percent in 2011. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson’s compensation came close to $100,000 per day last year.
    Millions in Political Contributions and Lobbying

    * Despite ranking as some of the most successful companies in the world, big oil and gas companies continue to receive $4 billion in tax breaks each year.

    * The oil and gas industry has already given over $30.5 million in federal campaign contributions this year, with a whopping 88 percent going to Republicans.

    * Big Oil has spent an additional $70 million on lobbying Congress this year, with the top spenders being Exxon, Shell, Chevron, Koch Industries and BP.

    * Their efforts are paying off. This is the most anti-environment Congress in history, with the House of Representatives averaging one anti-environment vote per day, or a total 247 votes through mid-June. The biggest beneficiary of these votes has been Big Oil. The House voted to enrich the oil and gas industry 109 times, a total 44 percent of its anti-environment votes.

    * The House is on track to collect a record amount of oil industry contributions this cycle, having already reached 2008 and 2010 levels. And these are direct donations only — it does not include Super PAC spending or other campaign assistance.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/24/574161/what-five-oil-companies-did-with-profits/?mobile=nc

  63. HUUFC
    March 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm | #63

    So they make money, so they use the money they make, so what? I like the fact that I can get gasoline for a cheap price 24 hours a day whenever and wherever I go.

    Compared to the Federal government oil companies are small potatoes. Even tiny potatoes. The Federal Government spends over $120,000 per second and of that amount over $50,000 is borrowed, EVERY SINGLE SECOND, of every minute of every hour of every day. The oil companies are not borrowing any money either.

    Let’s start worrying about real problems people.

  64. Anony
    March 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm | #64

    Big Oil is so terrible, the profits they make are obscene and they are stealing money out of the pockets of the people.

    Or so say the leftists extremist anti corporate Arcata types.

    Big Oil’s profit per gallon of gas ? Approx 2 cents.

    Big Government profit (tax) per gallon of gas ? Approx 50 cents.

    Who is the real thief?

  65. Anonymous
    March 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm | #65

    they dont use it. thats the problem. they take from the commons and hoard it. if they were reinvesting and creating a benefit for those that the resources belong to, people could worry about other problems

  66. Just Watchin
    March 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm | #66

    I’m surprised the Walmart haters can find time to hate the oil companies, but liberals are full of hate, so I guess it’s not much of a stretch.

  67. Anonymous
    March 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm | #67

    Anony,

    How much did you deduct from government’s “profits” for the road system that makes travel possible? What about for the national petroleum reserve? The regulatory agencies that enable us to trust that the gasoline is what the company says it is? The military that enables the oil companies to (at the very, very least) send representatives overseas without worrying that they’ll be killed daily?

    I comment only because too many people have this strange idea that government is a profit-making entity that does nothing but collect taxes. Your comment which, I assume, you ripped off from some right-wing feeding trough, is a particularly stupid version of this idea.

    Another bit of stupidity? The idea that “two cents per gallon” is meaningful. The oil company profits are what they are. You can call it 1/2 cent per quart if you want, it’s still an enormous profit made possible by the US military, the exploitation of people in other countries, and the unwillingness of the government to respond to the already-in-evidence world tragedy of climate disruption.

  68. myths about gas taxes
    March 13, 2013 at 7:57 am | #68

    1. Americans already pay too much in gas taxes. Not even close.

    America actually taxes gasoline less than most other nations. Only two countries—Kuwait and Saudi Arabia—charge lower gas taxes than the U.S. and both are net global oil suppliers, not consumers. The U.S. is the world’s largest oil consumer. By under-taxing gasoline — and thus under-pricing gasoline — the United States encourages over-dependency. Furthermore, the federal gas tax does not even come close to covering the wide array of external social costs of driving cars and trucks.

    2. Gas taxes rise every year. Quite the opposite.

    The federal gas tax has remained unchanged at 18.4 cents for a gallon of gasoline (and 24.4 cents for diesel) for nearly two decades. It is not indexed to the price of crude oil or inflation, so Americans pay a fixed amount whether oil prices are high or low. Ironically, given today’s debate, the last time the gas tax was raised in 1993 was for deficit reduction purposes. Taking inflation into account, the gas tax has eroded to only 11 cents today. This has seriously diminished the ability to pay for infrastructure, with a purchasing power of 45 cents in gas taxes for every dollar in national highway construction costs. This means that only one-half of the transportation investments made since 1993 could be afforded today, even though GDP has grown 55% and demands (vehicle miles traveled) have grown 29%.

    3. Gas taxes are unnecessary because the transportation system is paid for in other ways. Not so fast.
    America’s transportation system is going broke. Revenue for the Highway Trust Fund is derived almost entirely from federal gas taxes and distributed to all 50 states. It covers nearly 80% of the capital costs of federally-funded transportation projects, with states carrying the remainder. From 2008 to 2010, Congress transferred $34.5 billion from general fund revenues to make up the funding shortfall. This stopgap measure was necessary to continue projects that are already in the works. Moreover, deferred maintenance—the failure to care for existing roads and bridges—combined with lost productivity are estimated to add more than $100 billion to the national deficit annually.

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/18/opinion/tsay-gordon-gas-tax-myths

  69. March 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm | #69

    Willits price per gal. 3-17-13 – $3.99. Eureka’s price $4.49. State tax 1-28-13, was 35.3. Now it’s .36/gal. plus 2. The added column – ‘Other Taxes’ – is the 2. However, the description of ‘Other Taxes’ for CA INC. is; ‘Other Taxes’ include 2 cpg State UST fee (gasoline and diesel), a 2.5% state sales tax for gasoline, a 9.67% state sales tax for diesel. Gasoline and diesel rates are rate + local sales tax.
    http://www.californiagasprices.com/tax_info.aspx
    At last evening’s STATE, labeled City Council meeting (Eureka), the Finance Director, Paul Rodrigue’s presented his mid-year “Budget” report. I merely stated that, ‘Budget’ does not show standing value of a corporation, and asked for a copy of his report (2 whole pgs).
    In it he states that the fiscal condition of the City has stabilized, and that the City’s projected ending financial position is stronger than originally projected, and one of the reasons is Sales Tax revenues are projected to increase about $250,000.
    For many years I have made note of the fed/state petrol tax when I go to Willits, as it’s always been on a sticker on each of the pumps at Tower Mart. Yesterday, not so. When I asked why, the lady at the counter told me that it changes so often that they are no longer going to place the tax amounts on the pumps. On the pumps now is: “Includes all applicable sales taxes.”
    On the ‘Budget’ report, there is a ‘Sales Tax’ amount – $250,000, as well as a ‘Gas Tax 2103 amount – $295,333. Further down on the ‘Budget Adjustments’ (which was approved, in the end, as a ‘Supplemental Budget Request’) there’s State Funded Road Maint. ($38,147). Directly under that is Gas Tax $38,147.

    I would like to see the many different fed, state, county, city, taxes listed as separate amounts in the total paid for gasoline. That way, we could, at the very least, know how much our localites are extorting.

    The purveyors of nonsense in writing what the ‘Other Taxes’ is, slips in State UST (U.S. Tax), then immediately perform the word smith hocus pocus, and use the word ‘fee.’

    ‘Permits’, ‘license’, ‘registration’, ‘fee’, ‘admin. charges’, blah, blah, blah – are ALL TAXES.

    The founders must be rolling-over in their graves. We already fought one revolution over this same thing. The ONLY tax mentioned in the Constitution is Excise Tax . . .to be the same amount throughout the states.

  70. Just Watchin
    March 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm | #70

    Forest Queen…… the time off has been beneficial. Your most coherent post ever. Congratulations.

  71. Anonymous
    March 20, 2013 at 8:48 pm | #71

    Now FQ thinks she’s a constitutional scholar. More lucid but still wrong. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the US Constitution states, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence[note 1] and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” And then there’s the 16th Amendment, as much a part of the constitution as any other part which states, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

  72. March 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm | #72

    As you quote above: . . .Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States – what’s your problem? Is that not the same thing I posted?

    “If you examined the 16th Amendment carefully, you would find that a sufficient number of states never ratified that amendment.” U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox 2003.

    I posted the above thinking that someone up Eureka way might know more about the local tax – like how much are we paying per gallon into the city/county coffers? If we’re paying 8.5%, based on $4/gal, that’s .34 cents per gallon. Seems we should know the cost per gal. before the various taxes are “included” in the cost at the pump.

  73. Anonymous
    March 20, 2013 at 10:05 pm | #73

    Forest Queen, you rule. Fuel and service stations were the #1 source of sales tax for the City of Arcata in Q3. About $118,000 just from fuel and service stations. That was an increase of maybe $1000 from the previous quarter. Business and Industry came in at #2 with about $86,000. It seems likely that the neighboring cities sales tax data would be similar. If thats true, then the #1 producer of sales tax for the cities in Humboldt are fuel and service stations.

  74. Anonymous
    March 20, 2013 at 10:10 pm | #74

    I forgot to mention those figures are for 2012

  75. Anonymous
    March 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm | #75

    Yes, the Constitution says that tax rates that are approved by Congress (federal taxes) must be equal in all the states. That doesn’t mean that the states, counties and municipalities can’t set their own tax rates. Obviously they can, and they have, since before the Constitution was even written.

  76. March 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm | #76

    Anonymous,
    Are you in Arcata? What I would really, truly like to see, and dissect, more than any of the other cities in Humboldt, is Arcata’s CAFR (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) – yes, they do have to hand it over – either on disc. or paper. 2012′s should be available. If you haven’t seen one before, it may be overwhelming with all of the nonsensical figures, financial wizardry, and “creative accounting” that is presented in over 100 pages of a pure accounting nightmare. I’m only interested in three line items.
    Just a thought.

  77. March 21, 2013 at 12:12 am | #77

    June 6, 1932 was the first fed. gas tax – what a coincidence! -the Great Depression era (bet the people didn’t think it was so Great). It’s been at 18.4/gal since 1993.

  78. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 7:51 am | #78

    What’s wrong is that you erroneously claimed that only excise taxes were mentioned in the constitution and only once. If you can’t see where you were wrong, you are a complete idiot and not just a nut.

  79. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 8:00 am | #79

    7:51,

    I’ve been mystified by the Forest Queens of this blog. But the current issue of Harper’s (I think it was) has an article on the Rand Paul libertarians, and their deep end sounds a lot like the paranoid crazies here. They and the Birchers really have a ton of stuff in common.

  80. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 8:00 am | #80

    Ron Paul, not Rand Paul, at least so far.

  81. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 9:11 am | #81

    FQ is a “libertarian” of the Alex Jones variety. Paranoid, ignorant and likely to stay that way.

  82. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 9:25 am | #82

    You would not be mystified by Forest Queen if you met her. She is a gentle and truly nice woman. She does not identify as a “libertarian.” AFAIK she calls herself a “sovereign human being” or something like that. But I don’t mean to speak for her, I know her and like her.

    She is also obviously a talented writer with a gift for wordplay and free association. Treasure her.

  83. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 9:42 am | #83

    She’s an idiot nutcase who spreads false propaganda. You treasure her.

  84. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 9:44 am | #84

    I like Forest Queen.

  85. March 21, 2013 at 10:13 am | #85

    I haven’t seen any other posters using Forest Queen. I have seen many Anonymous labels, until I don’t know which one I’m replying to. To #79, “libertarians,” “deep end sounds,” “paranoid crazies,” and “Birchers” – useless labels that you choose to apply without knowing what in the hell you’re talking about. If I were to choose to label myself, I wouldn’t choose any modern-day, in-the-crypt, out-dated words that imply I need a group to ‘belong’ to. Why is it that so many insist, and will fight to the death, to support a system that’s broken beyond repair? LET GO! What is it that you’re afraid of?
    #78 chooses to use “complete idiot,” and “nut.” If either of you two (or one?) had to find evidence for your claim (of slander), you would find zip, zero, nada. So, both of you (or one) can free-will choose to remain in the programmed world of separation, applying useless, meaningless, lame group-think words – or, you can stand for something, rather than falling for anything. When fiction is removed, i.e. brain-washed words that have no value, no matter how silly it may seem to you, you’re left with fact.
    Now, can we get back to gasoline tax? or shall we waste more time pointing fingers?

  86. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 10:16 am | #86

    Y’all love Flatmo. Nothing against Flatmo but here we have FQ painting abosute pictures with words. She is as real and as good as Flatmo. Treaure her. She is the ee cummings of the coast

    lost

  87. March 21, 2013 at 10:17 am | #87

    Anonymous @83,
    “False propaganda” is like saying wet water. The truth, once realized, is difficult if not impossible to stop.

  88. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 11:12 am | #88

    FQ, talking to you is like talking to water. You believe all your paranoid nonsense and fantasies of what the constitution says and does not say and no amount of factual information will change that. You are delusional, paranoid and stupid.

  89. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 11:14 am | #89

    I disagree. FQ is right on.

  90. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 11:34 am | #90

    The subject of this thread is why gas is so much more expensive in Humboldt than elsewhere in California. At the moment, gas is about 25 cents a gallon more in Eureka then Willits. The federal and state gasoline taxes are the same in both places. So, the question is how many pennies per gallon do Mendecino County and Willits add to the tax, vs. Humboldt County and the Eureka?

    I doubt there is much difference, and I would be shocked to find out that the difference was enough to account for most or all of the 25 cent per gallon price difference at the pump. But I don’t know for sure, and would be curious to find out. Anybody have that info, or know where to find it?

  91. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm | #91

    Post #90 was written by “Anonymous just this one last time.”

  92. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm | #92

    Well, I see now that my comment was held for monitoring. Maybe it will appear in time. If it does, it will be signed by “Anonymous just this one last time.”

  93. March 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm | #93

    When I asked Eureka’s Finance Director, he mumbled something about 8.5%, and asked loudly to the lady in the next office if it was something like 1/2% of that (that Eureka gets), or what? Wouldn’t you think that I could get a straight reply? I didn’t push it, (2 1/2 days at Willit’s tree sits, I was tired), and, I came to the meeting in support of the Fair Wage Act, back upstairs.

    Anonymous @90, the difference in gas price was .50 cents Tues., not saying that perhaps it’s changed, but that’s a lot. As I’ve attempted to figure part of this out online, there’s differences from one website to another. One site listed CA INC’s total at .69/gal.
    Seems like when this thread started, some website had .77 cents. I’ve also read that sales tax rates applied to areas was by weighted average, based on the population of the county.
    I also noticed that one of the two (I think) States that were higher priced was $5 something – in Arkansas. Umm, Arkansas, haven’t been there, my thoughts go to “poor” -

  94. March 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm | #94

    Here’s an interesting link – gas prices within the last 36 hours, AND, further down the page are gas prices being posted in now time. The fact that this site even exists, is boggeling.
    http://www.californiagasprices.com/

  95. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 2:10 pm | #95

    “The fact that this site even exists, is boggeling.”

    Why is it surprising to you that this site exists?

  96. March 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm | #96

    Really, the people are “on it” – no matter which way I turn. I’m happily surprised.
    The gasoline issue is a hot State item – I was just thinking in terms of ‘poor us’ here in Humboldt. When I do see the same things happening – like last year Chief of Police positions were either eliminated, or replaced with an “Interim.” Then the City Manager, having ‘fired’ the Police Chief (NOT on City Mgr’s job description) departs to go to another CA. INC. City to be City Mgr. Enter another City Mgr., who now, by way of a colorful hiring brochure, has been illegally assigned to hire/fire the Chief of Police. Delegated authority cannot again be delegated. Off subject, I was just connecting the orchestrated State comparison.
    The prices of gas in California, on the above link, are the highest in places that are the closest to the docks and refineries.

  97. Anonymous
    March 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm | #97

    thats a really interesting observation!! I didnt think about that. I noticed the “union” station in Arcata across from Cafe Brio has been selling their gas cheaper than the other stations by up to 10 cents!

  98. March 25, 2013 at 11:45 am | #98

    April 1, 2009 statewide sales tax increased by 1% to 8 1/4%. When we purchase something in Eureka the sales tax is 8 1/4%. Where is this Measure O (Nov. 2010) 1/2% being applied? At the gas pump – making it an “excise” tax. However, Measure O was placed before the people of Eureka as a “use” tax and a “transaction” tax (whatever that is). “Use” tax is imposed on purchases of goods purchased without ‘sales’ tax – Internet sales or purchased in another state. Difficult to enforce except on large items like automobiles and boats.
    California Government Codes sates that City/County are one in the same. So where exactly is this imaginary City/County line? Is there another imaginary line for the “Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce?” Is there yet another imaginary line between gas stations?
    Of course, it’s to the advantage of the STATE Corporate employees to lie and get the signature gathers for the Fair Wage Initiative to beLIEve that there is a boundary line between City/County, thus eliminating valid signatures – And ELIMINATING THE HEALTH CARE WORKERS from being included.
    Then there’s the Nov. 2008 Eureka vote to add 1/4% – also labeled ‘use’ and ‘transaction’
    tax.
    Meanwhile, CalPers just voted themselves a 50% increase over the next 6 years.
    Oh California!

  99. I’ve been here often enough
    April 6, 2013 at 10:43 am | #99

    I tried to post this in Quicknotes, but I can’t get access to it.

    I realize now that I bear as much responsibility as anyone for the decline in the fortunes of the Humboldt Herald.

    In my case, it is largely because I have permitted Facebook and the Huffington Post (and certain personal and family obligations) to distract me from serious local discussions that matter.

    So instead of blaming anyone else, I remain grateful for the years of service that Heraldo and Mitch have given to our community – and I hope that after taking time to recuperate, they will return.

  100. Anonymous
    April 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm | #100

    Perhaps Heraldo will return.

    The area could use a space for intelligent discussion of local issues, and I hope someone creates and nurtures one. It’s a difficult and unrewarding task in an environment that has turned toxic.

  101. April 7, 2013 at 9:42 am | #101

    Somewhat late, but thank you to those who posted above such kind words about me.

    I too cannot access QuickNotes – here’s a link to WAKE UP WORLD! Keep in mind that the slaves of yesteryear didn’t know that they were free for the first year either.

    http://wakeup-world.com/2013/02/18/all-corporations-banks-and-governments-lawfully-foreclosed-by-oppt/

  102. Gas price victim
    September 24, 2013 at 10:09 am | #102

    Renner, Renner, Renner. I have been told by a long time trucker for Renner that the gas is all the sameRenner. The only difference is about an eight ounce liquid added per underground tank that Shell chooses or Chevron chooses to add. The Casino gas is not required to add these additives.
    Next- Costco should be doing a much better job in under-pricing it competitors since Costco get huge bulk deals and is cheaper all around the United States. They are just hitting us with what the market(crooks) will allow them to rip us off compared to the other stations.

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