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Fixing Blame for the High Price of Gasoline

March 07, 2004

Re "Gasaholics' Selfishness" (letter, Feb. 29), on SUV owners being a reason for the gas price increases we are encountering: Though it is true that there are many SUV owners who buy these vehicles only to slap "dubs" on them and fill them with stereo speakers so that they can be noticed on the streets, the majority of us buy them strictly for the space and power they provide. My Ford Excursion was the only vehicle I could consider when I was shopping for something that could not only haul eight, big 16-year-old football players but still have enough room in the back for all their stuff without it having to be piled so high as to obstruct my view out of the back.

In my old six-cylinder minivan, entering the freeway packed with kids and equipment was like playing Russian roulette. With the engine straining to pull the weight, I was lucky to be going 55 mph in order to merge with traffic, causing a danger. With the motor in my Excursion, this is no longer the case.

The last time I checked, carpooling was a good thing. If the parents of all the kids I haul had to drive them separately, much more gas would be wasted.

Brent Smith

San Bernardino

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Re "A Life Adapted to a New Script," March 1: How interesting to read that our good, old ex-Gov. Gray Davis, who was so viciously recalled from office, drives an energy-saving, nonpolluting Toyota Prius while his successor, the Terminator, friend of "the people," tools around in one of his gas-guzzling, road-destroying, monster Hummers. All this while pump prices continue to rise and oil stocks in the ground become more scarce each year. Add to that an addiction to big cigars, even as we strive to woo our young from tobacco products and stigmatize cigarette smokers. What a role model!

Eleanor Jackson

Palm Springs

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To put a positive spin on spiraling gas prices, they may be part of an experiment in traffic relief -- to find out at what price the congestion abates enough for us to be able to get around town once more. Part of me is curious to see where this leads and dreams that the magic number can be afforded if we rearrange our priorities and severely curtail our spending on such items as food, which has made two-thirds of us obese.

If this ends up causing us to lose weight, we'll be able to see that this second burning Bush we were sent was for our own good, after all. They just want us to be healthy. Right?

Merl Edelman

West Hollywood

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Add to the reasons for the current tight gasoline supplies and high prices -- ethanol. When I started being forced to use gasoline with ethanol in my car, my mileage dropped 20%. This has happened before, when I lived in a state where ethanol was added during the winter: a sharp drop in miles per gallon. If other people are getting the same result, a shortage will develop even if nothing else changes.

Larry Maxcy

Yucca Valley

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Re the price of gas, a March 3 letter asks, "Where is all of that money going?"

The answer is in "ChevronTexaco Chief's Salary, Bonus Soar" (Business, March 3) -- Chief Executive Dave O'Reilly's annual bonus quadrupling to $3.15 million and his salary increasing $300,000, to $1.31 million.

Gordon Mason

Los Angeles

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