Thursday, October 11, 2012

A 'fuel island'; no easy answer to fixing California's record gas prices

This article is good in that it gives a little of the history behind the "special gasoline" that is used in CA. I say get rid of it and go back to the standard used by other states.
The state's special blend of gasoline dates back to 1971, when Gov. Ronald Reagan's administration required that fuel sold during the summer be refined in a way that causes less evaporation.

The way to reduce evaporation is to lower what's known as the “Reid Vapor Pressure.” The Reagan rule in 1971 required that no gasoline could be sold in California with a pressure above 9 pounds per square inch during summer.

Eventually, in 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency copied that summer standard for every state. But California decided to go further. Former Gov. Pete Wilson's air board lowered the standard to 7 psi in 1996. No other state is that low. Smog levels today are dramatically lower than a generation ago.

A study by economists at the University of Michigan and University of California last year found that California's summer gasoline blend adds 8 to 11 cents per gallon, and saves 660 lives a year. But much of California still doesn't meet the health standards under the Clean Air Act.
In a state that has the largest population in the nation totaling in the tens  of millions, how is it they are able to calculate the lives saved of 660?   Most likely, this is the high end of the probability distribution curve.  In reality the number is probably spread from a high of 660 to a low of ... zero.

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