Taxing oil vs. gas

Regarding the Economy page article "Some Oilmen Call for Tax on Fuel Imports Into US," Jan. 19: There is one significant item not mentioned in the discussion of the pros and cons of taxing imported oil versus increasing the tax on gasoline. That item is the inflationary impact of each.

A tax on gasoline - a final finished product sold to the consumer - only affects the price of gasoline. That is, only the price of gasoline and businesses that rely on gasoline will show a high increase in a given year. On the other hand, a tax on imported oil - a raw material used as a base in many products and businesses - forces price adjustments in many more industries and on many more products to allow for the increase in the cost of oil. This is essentially what occurred during the two run-ups in o il prices, which the United States has experienced because of instability in Middle East oil supplies. James A. Bryan, Bethel, Conn.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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