Q Just like every other leftist in the media, you fail to report why our gas prices are higher than any other state. While the refineries are indeed part of the problem, the California Air Resources Board is the real problem with their requirements of custom blends that other states don't have to do in their fuel distribution. Remember MTBE? Thanks, Air Resources Board and Mary Nichols.
Now, do some reporting, unless you are afraid you will be rejected at the cocktail parties. Good luck, dummy.
A Jimmy, in 1996 the Mercury News was the among the first papers in the state to report that California's new, cleaner-burning fuel was raising gas prices by as much as 31 cents a gallon. And we have written about that numerous times over the years. In that '96 article, we wrote:
"Because the new gas is sold only in California -- and made almost exclusively here -- the state has become a separate market for gasoline. More than ever, California gas prices are determined by how much gasoline is made here and how much Californians want to buy. When accidents damaged three refineries just as the new gas became available in mid-March, Californians' demand for gasoline suddenly exceeded what the oil companies could produce.
"And there was nowhere else to turn for additional supply. ... California is walking a fine line by insisting on a unique smog-reducing gas formula while also trying to satisfy its voracious thirst for gasoline. A supply interruption or a major refinery accident could again send prices spiraling upward."
Q Yes, the short-term gas problem is as you described in your article last week on refinery and pipeline issues. The long-term problem is state government interference in the market for gasoline with the very special blends the government requires. Of course they are of dubious value given the costs they impose on California residents and businesses. Get rid of our special blends of gasoline and these price spikes go away with an improved state economy.
A The special blend is not going away. We are one of 17 states using reformulated gas, and about 30 percent of gas sold in the U.S. is reformulated. The problem is that there isn't a single blend required, or otherwise California could use other states' fuel when it's running low, and vice versa.
Q You failed to mention there have been no new refineries built in California since 1980, which leaves California open to this kind of event.
A Yes, it does, but there are no plans to build more refineries in the state.
Q I think you enjoy mixing politics and traffic. You know there are Republicans in the Bay Area, though we usually choose to avoid conflict. But you like rattling our cages.
A And they like rattling mine. It's all in good fun -- mostly.
Q Palo Alto recently repaved San Antonio Road, and at Charleston, they've marked the two left lanes as left-turn-only lanes onto Charleston, taking away one lane heading straight onto 101. This has to be a mistake, right?
A No mistake, but it's temporary. The city plans to put back all the previous lanes in a few days.
Q When will the Santa Clara Valley Water District finish the creek work underneath the Interstate 680 overpass at Jackson Avenue in San Jose? The area has been under siege for at least a year, maybe longer. So, when is it planned for wrap-up?
A Soon. The water district has been rebuilding the Lower Silver Creek bridge for over a year and crews should finish up by late November. Construction to widen the creek will continue near Story Road through 2014.