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5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #608
Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
Phone: (562) 597-8000
Fax: (562) 597-9410
Letters to Editor

More Poppycock

From Issue: Volume XX - Number 23

Your Nov. 2 letter from a Mr. Jacobs bemoaning the gasoline situation in California was entitled ‘Poppycock.’ Ironically, it contained some important factual errors. The one that struck me as the most glaring was the ‘custom’ blend of gasoline used in California during the winter months.

We folks here in the Northwest have been using a gasoline bland with 10% ethanol during winter months for over 20 years. The fact that this is mandated is largely due the beneficial effect of adding alcohol as an oxidizer, i.e., it helps the fuel burn more cleanly.
I once had to dump some ethanol in the tank of my old Dodge Van to get it to pass the smog test (please don’t tell the authorities). The reason that it isn’t used during the summer is due to the volatility of ethanol. Please do a fact check on that.

There are three refineries here in Washington producing the blend of gas Mr. Jacobs is talking about. Two of them are within sight of my house.

Further, the gas tax in Washington State is extremely high, resulting in prices about equal to those of California. It is fortunate for us that they are high because, lacking an income tax, Washingtonians rely on the gas tax as a very important source of revenue.

However, I will agree with Mr. Jacobs on one thing: venomous personal attacks in a public forum are unwelcome to an enlightened public. Better to keep them on the Fox News Channel where they belong.

Thomas Beeler
Anacortes, Wash.


In response to the letter from Thomas Beeler published in the November 16th Beachcomber, which took exception to my letter on subject, I offer the following facts:

1. The “custom blend” of gasoline required in California is for the summer months, not the winter months as Mr. Beeler mistakenly claims.

2. The objective of the “custom blend” regulations is to lower the volatility (see Reid Vapor Pressure Requirements) of gasoline sold in California during the hot summer months, and thus reduce pollution from evaporation. The requirements for this “custom blend” result in a more costly refining process.

3. The “custom blend” gasoline sold in California has absolutely nothing to do with the addition of Ethanol to the fuel. Ethanol is inherently more volatile than gasoline, and would actually increase air pollution in California due to evaporation during the summer months.

4. There are no refineries outside of California that manufacture the “custom blend” of gasoline required by the California Air Resources Board, despite Mr. Beeler’s insistence that he can see two of them from his house.

Having spent roughly 35 years of my Engineering Career in the energy industry, and having worked with some of the finest experts on petroleum technology in the world, I stand by the content of my November 2nd Letter.

Ralph Paul Jacobs