Gasoline taxes by state

I’ve been doing a lot of driving along the east coast this year and have noticed large variations in the cost of gasoline from state to state. I was thinking this was due in part to differences in state and local taxes, but never stopped to figure it out.

On future trips, I’d like to be a little more strategic and buy gas in states where the taxes are lower. Here’s a chart showing tax burden for each state.

The range from highest to lowest is pretty significant – more than double. Alaska is the cheapest at 26.4 cents. California has the highest taxes at 67.7 cents.

Continue reading Gasoline taxes by state

Bahrain clamping down on sin

Bahrain, which I visited 18 months ago, has long been a favored destination for Saudis and others in the Middle East – a sort of release valve where they can do wild and crazy things like go to the movies, or dine at a restaurant in mixed company (i.e., men and women sitting together! egad!).

Partying in Bahrain!!
Partying in Bahrain!! Source: Wall Street Journal

Of course, some folks take things a bit further, to include drinking and prostitutes, etc., but that’s the way of things.

I recall one night we got lost and ended up in this alley behind a shopping area. All of a sudden we found ourselves stuck in a traffic jam. Turns out, the liquor store was hidden away back there and it was packed to the gills.

Well, maybe this isn’t going to last forever as the Bahrainis are getting tired of being a city of sin destination. They want to shift from a bachelors crowd to a family entertainment destination – more respectable, plus added benefit of higher revenues per person, apparently.

All this is outlined in an interesting story in today’s Wall Street Journal “Upon Sober Reflection, Bahrain Reconsiders the Wages of Sin

Links for Bahrain

Here are some links with useful info, photos, maps, etc. of Bahrain.

 – Bahrain wikipedia page

 – Bahrain CIA Factbook page

 – ArabNet Bahrain page

 – Bahrain.com

 – Bahrain Economic Development Board

 – Bahrain eGov portal

 – BBC News Bahrain page

 – Bahrain weather: BBC & The Weather Channel

 – English-language newspapersGulf Daily News & Bahrain Tribune

 – Photo slideshows from flickr:  slideshow #1 & slideshow #2 (panoramas)

Visit to Santa Cruz

Last weekend, I was in Santa Cruz with my brother Phil and his wife Vicky to visit my uncle Charles and aunt Phyllis (on my mom’s side).  Charles and Phyllis are gracious and enthusiastic hosts and we had a great time.  It was the first time I’d been there in like 20 years, but Phil and Vicky have gone several times with my Mom.  My sister Meridith and her husband Paul were supposed to come but an emergency kept them away.

Charles and Phyllis live in an idyllic neighborhood just south of Santa Cruz called Rio del Mar.  All 3 of us visitors were green with envy – the Santa Cruz area is just a fantastic place to live.  The area is hilly, lush with huge pines and redwoods, and minutes from the Pacific Ocean.  The place has lots of character and culture.  And you can’t beat the climate – crushes our dismal New England weather.

Map of Santa Cruz area – Rio del Mar is just south of Santa Cruz and Santa Cruz is about an hour south of San Jose.

Here are some shots of us.

the 5 of us at hilltop restaurant

Continue reading Visit to Santa Cruz

Upcoming trip to Bahrain

It looks I’ll be going to Bahrain in December for a month or so.

Bahrain is a small country in the Persian Gulf to the east of Saudi Arabia.  In addition to an international airport, a 16 mile causeway connects Bahrain to the Saudi mainland.  Here is a photo of the causeway landing in Bahrain.

King Fahd Causeway landing in Bahrain

Here is a map of the island.

Map of Bahrain

Here are some photos of what I’m likely to see.

Continue reading Upcoming trip to Bahrain