Q Does the current special blend of gas really significantly help pollution? Or is this just another liberal feel-good thing that costs the taxpayers a lot of money but has only a minimal or even a negative benefit?

Arlen Stone

Morgan Hill

A Well, some folks think the benefit is huge, despite the fact that gas is uncomfortably close to $5 a gallon. Read on.

Q After reading your article about drivers upset about our clean air requirements, it seemed pretty obvious the people complaining about California rules to improve air quality like Jimmy Williams didn't live here when smog was the norm. A car parked outside would be covered with crud just a day after being washed. You couldn't see the mountains or downtown buildings. I will take the air quality we have now over that even if we pay more for gas. ...

Have Jimmy Williams and others not lived here long enough or forgotten how the air quality was before the special blend, when you could not see the surrounding mountains because of the smog? This black blanket of crud in the air covered the valleys numerous days a year. It affected many people with breathing problems. I would much rather pay the extra price for this gas than breathe what was in the air then. I am on a fixed income, but it is well worth the price.

Jan Meredith, Larry Lund and several more

A And ...

Q To gas-additive haters, I suffered from near-debilitating asthma for years. Then the new formula became mandatory and within two weeks I was almost 100 percent cured. Now the cure is total. I haven't used an inhaler in years.


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On rare occasions when I have visited smoggy cities in other states where they don't use the California blend I have had minor relapses. I am delighted to pay, or force you to pay, whatever extra it takes for the California blend in order that I may breathe, which is higher on my priority list than my pocketbook or yours.

Besides, I've solved the gas problem by driving a Nissan Leaf. The price of electricity hasn't gone up at all.

Russ Atkinson

Los Altos

A Studies indicate that our cleaner-burning gas reduces smog-forming emissions from motor vehicles by 15 percent and reduces the cancer risk from motor vehicle emissions by about 40 percent.

Q Every time there is an increase in the pump price, readers write you and you always explain the complete range of reasons for the increase. But there is no leftist media bias, no pimping for free cocktails, no dummy view of the situation. Keep up your efforts in our behalf.

Jerrold Buck

Half Moon Bay

A Speaking of leftist bias, there's a perception that California's strict air standards are solely the work of liberals. But as Paul Rogers' story Wednesday showed, the move to cleaner-burning gas came under the administrations of Republican governors Ronald Reagan and Pete Wilson, plus President Richard Nixon.

Q There is a solution: The state could require some level of inventories being held in reserve for exactly these kinds of situations. Consumers would likely be willing to pay a few cents per gallon more to avoid paying dollars more per gallon in disruption situations. ... I find it hard to believe that our state lawmakers cannot allow the special blend of California gas be temporarily rescinded when these supply problems arise.

Stephen Chapel, Len Kole and more

A Good ideas. This week, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a switch to the winter blend of gas, which should help bring down prices. This run-up at the pump has been so severe that it's not fair for motorists to bear the entire burden, so setting aside an amount of reformulated gas should be considered for emergencies like this.

This beats what Bob-the-Gas-Analyst recently suggested, saying the solution is for everyone in California "to just stop driving their cars for two weeks until gasoline prices come back down."

Q I am not the only one that thinks we were shafted. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called for a federal investigation into what happened to the price of gas here, saying that she was concerned that the jump had little to do with supply and demand.

Errol Emrich

A Yes, and I predict this probe will go nowhere, like numerous others that followed past price spikes.

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