Lawmakers want big oil to testify about hot fuel

| 6/25/2007

Some powerful federal lawmakers say subpoenas could be necessary to get oil company executives to testify about hot fuel.

Executives of two prominent oil companies – ExxonMobil and Shell Oil Co. – refused an invitation to speak on the topic of hot fuel before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Domestic Policy.

Subcommittee Chairman Dennis Kucinich, D-OH, wants that testimony on the record and has asked the oversight committee chairman to issue subpoenas.

“The congressman finds it regrettable that the oil companies did not attend the hearing, but we think it’s important that they answer the questions and the subcommittee is going to pursue the answers from the oil companies,” Kucinich’s press secretary, Natalie Laber, told Land Line.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, followed up by sending letters to the invited executives – ExxonMobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson and Shell Oil Co. President John Hoffmeister.

“Chairman Kucinich seeks this testimony as part of the subcommittee’s investigation of how the temperature-based expansion and contraction of gasoline is, or is not, accounted for in retail sales in the United States,” Waxman wrote in the letters, which were dated June 22 and obtained by Land Line.

Waxman gave the executives until June 29 to confirm witnesses for a future subcommittee hearing or face subpoenas. The subcommittee is scheduling the second hearing for the week of July 16 or the following week.

Click here to view the first hearing, entitled “Hot Fuel: Big Oil’s Double Standard.” It includes testimony from OOIDA Foundation Project Leader John Siebert, other panelists and elected officials.

Siebert says that automatic temperature-compensation equipment should become standard on all retail fuel pumps so consumers will get a standard amount of fuel energy regardless of temperature.

Siebert is gearing up for the upcoming National Conference on Weights and Measures, July 8-12. Hot fuel is one of the topics at hand.

Siebert appeared Sunday, June 24, on the Fox News Channel to explain how fuel expands or contracts with temperature, and how oil companies and fuel retailers use this knowledge to gain more in profits.

For more information about hot fuel, click here.

During the Fox program, Siebert refuted a statement made by Dan Gilligan of the Petroleum Marketers Association that cool temperatures balance out hot temperatures in the United States and that consumers are “made whole” over the course of a year.

“They are not made whole. It is not a wash,” Siebert said during the live telecast.

“Along the southern tier of states, where it’s much warmer than the northern tier, the loss to consumers is 10 times larger than the advantage consumers get in the northern tier,” he said.

– By David Tanner, staff writer