Monday, April 9, 2012

Did you know hot fuel delivers less energy per gallon?

BP Products North America Inc., ConocoPhillips Co. and Shell Oil Products US have agreed to settle lawsuits accusing the oil companies of profiting from "hot fuel," gasoline or diesel fuel for which price has not been adjusted for temperature. "Hot fuel" refers to the expansion of gas or diesel fuel in warmer months. Critics charge that when the fuel expands, it delivers less energy per gallon to the consumer, but the consumer is still charged the same price per gallon.
Oil companies argued that consumers benefitted in cold weather because fuel contracts and then contains more energy per gallon than usual. The companies also claimed that it would be too expensive to equip every retail pump with a temperature compensating device. Sixty degrees is the century-old government standard for gas or diesel sold at the pumps.
In 2006, the Kansas City Star wrote a series of stories about the issue, estimating that hot fuel cost consumers $2.3 billion dollars a year. With today's fuel prices, that would be as much as $3.5 billion. After the Star's reports, class-action lawsuits sprouted up against dozens of companies, including oil giants and fuel-station chains. Being that I live in Florida, I think I am getting the short end of this stick no matter what way you look at it…

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