Next to water, oil is the second most important liquid on the planet. Our current energy policy is wasting a lot of it.

General Motors sells more vehicles than any other manufacturer in two very restricted markets.

In the United States, GM manufactures vehicles that run on "flex fuel." There are only two stations that supply it in California. This fuel is 70 percent ethanol. It takes five to six gallons of diesel to make one gallon of this nonexistent fuel. In Australia, GM cars run on natural gas, as do all municipal vehicles in L.A. County, some Hondas, Audi cabs in Spain and other vehicles worldwide.

America has tremendous supplies of natural gas. It currently cost $1.60 per gallon and PG&E will place a dispenser in your house. We. on the other hand, are told to buy a Chevy Volt and a Nissan Leaf and put an electric outlet in our garage. The Volt catches on fire and it takes a Leaf about six days to make a round trip to Santa Barbara. GM sells very little in Europe, where their Swedish subsidiary Saab just went under. Eighty percent of all vehicles in Europe are diesel. Fords that get 40 mpg here get 65 mpg-plus in Europe.

GM's other major market is China. Chinese will not buy Japanese cars because of hatred left over from World War II. The American cars they do buy are made in China, with Ford to open a big new plant soon. Americans are not allowed to purchase the high-mileage diesels available in the rest of the world market.

This is the only country in the world where diesel costs more than gasoline. An you wonder why gas is $5 a gallon.

Bob Blair

Arroyo Grande

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