Dear Sun Spots: What are the taxes on gasoline in Maine? Are they a flat rate or percentage of cost? What is the money designated for? Thanks for your wonderful column. – No Name, No Town.

Answer: In checking the Maine Oil Dealers Web site, www.meoil.com, Sun Spots located the following breakdown for the price of a gallon of gas in southern Maine as of Sept. 8:

• Average wholesale price paid by dealer is $2.34

• Maine excise tax is 25.9 cents

• Federal excise taxes are 18.4 cents

• Maine environmental fee is 0.9 cents

• Total tax so far is 45.2 cents

• Transportation of gas from South Portland to Augusta, for example, costs an additional 5 cents.

• Service station expenses include such items as mortgage or rent, property taxes, payroll, payroll taxes, utilities, worker’s compensation and benefits and more, which add an additional 20 cents.

• If customer is paying via credit card, 3 percent of sale goes directly to the credit card company, in this case 9 cents.

And there you have a grand total of $3.13 a gallon.

Dear Sun Spots: I have a question that I hope you can answer. I always pick the name of a needy child from the giving tree at a local business each Christmas. I have often wondered: Does the gift I purchase actually go to the child whose name I have chosen, or do these gifts just go to an organization that will in turn choose from what resources they receive and distribute the gifts to children? – Just Curious, No Town.

Answer: Sun Spots is sure that if there’s a specific name your gift does go to the child named. Here at the Sun Journal, we have a Christmas tree with labels that include the child or parent’s name and the gift they’d like to receive. Each employee who participates purchases the gift, wraps it and attaches the label and leaves it under the tree in the newsroom.

The Sun Journal elves and Santa helpers take the gifts to the family just in time for the holidays.

Sun Spots would encourage you to ask at the business with the giving tree to see what its criteria are for gift giving.

Dear Sun Spots: Does anyone have a remedy for getting the musty smell out of books that were stored in a cellar? – Dennis Sweetser, Auburn

Answer: According to www.thriftyfun.com, you might want to consider taking a large paper bag and putting a layer of charcoal (not quick light) on the bottom. Then lay two sheets of typing paper, followed by the book, fold over the top of the bag and wait five days before opening. Another tip offered is to put the offending book in a sealed plastic bag of dry cat litter (dollar stores usually have it).

Depending on how bad the book smells, it usually comes out good as new without some horrible chemical smell. Try a couple of days for medium smell, maybe as long as three weeks for a really bad smell. Perhaps there are some readers out there willing to also share their tips with you.

Dear Sun Spots: The company that bought Curran’s Bean Sprouts was Roberge not Laberge. -Ruth Curran Linehan, Lewiston.

Answer: Note this reader was referring to the Dec. 16 column.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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