Regarding the letter from the writer who felt she could not control the cost of heating her home ["Oil policy and oil prices," April 27], most people believe they are stuck with consuming the amount of fossil fuel they currently do to accomplish this task. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most Long Island homes are energy hogs and offer an opportunity to see substantial savings by tightening the envelope of the home. Less heat lost means less fuel needed to heat the home. An energy audit would quickly point out the trouble areas, which usually can be addressed quite reasonably.

National Grid and many towns have programs that offer reduced-cost audits. Updating to a high-efficiency oil heating system can save 30 percent or more on heating oil. There are also substantial tax credits for both solar hot water and solar electric.

Robert C. O'Brien, Mount Sinai

I had to chuckle when I read that President Barack Obama was attacking "the free markets." Believing that there are such things as free markets is akin to believing that there is a tooth fairy.

The term free market was probably coined by the robber barons of the 19th century. The term describes a myth perpetuated by the rich and powerful who do all they can to ensure that there is no such thing as a truly free market, but rather a market that they can control and manipulate.

Since the days of the "Trust Buster," Teddy Roosevelt, the only thing that has kept markets as free and open as possible is the federal government.

The idea of having markets without federal regulation makes about as much sense as having professional basketball without referees; the game would be ruled by the dirtiest players.

Alexander J. Kelly, Smithtown

There is one cause of high gas prices that is being overlooked. Yes, there is increased demand around the world, but the demand is for refined fuel. We have not increased the refining capacity in this country for years.

It's time to build new modern refineries. This would be a good government infrastructure project, in the same way that rural electrification was 70 years ago. We should spend the money and put Americans back to work.

Kevin Hickson, Port Washington

All one needs to do to understand why gas prices are skyrocketing is to listen to the president and those who work for him and to watch what they are doing.

As a candidate in June 2008, Obama in response to a question about rising gas prices at that time said, "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment." Four months before becoming energy secretary, Steven Chu said in a September 2008 interview, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." At the time, gas prices where approaching $10 a gallon there.

The plan is to drive gas prices up to wean Americans off of oil, which dovetails nicely with Obama's cap-and-trade policy, which would make electricity prices "necessarily skyrocket," in the president's words.

The administration is using the BP oil spill as a way to impose an overreaching moratorium in the Gulf, lowering the supply; it is fighting to end federal subsidies; it is proposing $37 billion in taxes on oil and gas companies, which would force them to raise prices at the pump; it is using the Environmental Protection Agency to deny domestic drilling permits, including a recent last-minute decision to deny Shell Oil permits to drill in Alaska, costing the company billions; and it is implementing the debt-building Keynesian approach to economics, printing money and boosting inflation.

Throw in some Mideast turmoil that, in large measure, the president seems to be rooting for, our questionable involvement in Libya, and the speculators' reaction to all of this, and there you have it.

And what do we hear from the press? Obama is fighting soaring prices by investigating speculators and price gougers. That response is a waste of taxpayer dollars and an insult to the intelligence of the American public. If the press ever decided to investigate this topic truthfully and comprehensively, Obama most assuredly would be a one-term president.

Mike Quadrino, Smithtown

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