National conference to vote on temperature compensation at the pump

| 7/11/2007

The 53 voting members of the National Conference on Weights and Measures are set to vote this week on whether to issue guidelines for states to use if they legislate temperature compensation at retail fuel pumps.

If approved, the guidelines could be a key step in advancing solutions to the “hot fuel” issue.

As it stands, there are no current regulations or laws in the U.S. to prevent retailers from selling “hot fuel” – gasoline or diesel warmer than 60 degrees – even though the 60-degree standard is used during transactions at the refinery and wholesale levels.

The National Conference on Weights and Measures was scheduled to vote Wednesday, July 11, on a recommendation by its Laws and Regulations Committee to amend a commodities handbook to say that when a state chooses to implement automatic temperature compensation at retail fuel pumps, it should use the following guidelines:

  • All sales will be delivered “volume-adjusted” to either 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius;
  • Temperature compensation must be accomplished through automatic means;
  • Receipts or other indicating elements must be marked to show the volume was compensated for temperature;
  • The retailer must clearly advertise when a fuel sale is or is not compensated for temperature;
  • Temperature-compensation equipment must be activated for not less than 12 months to prevent someone from taking advantage of the practice on a seasonal basis; and
  • At any given business that uses temperature compensation, all pumps must include the compensation devices.

The agenda item up for vote barely survived the committee discussion, said John Siebert, project leader for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation.

“The amazing thing is that a small group has control of this whole topic,” Siebert told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio. “They voted 3-2 to go ahead and send it forward as a voting item ... California, North Carolina and Texas voted to send it forward as a voting item. Ohio and Massachusetts voted against it, and the Massachusetts (representative) is the chairman of this committee.”

The conference convened into committee sessions Tuesday for discussion of specific topics before the full-conference voting sessions Wednesday and Thursday.

Siebert spoke for about 12 minutes in favor of temperature compensation during an open hearing on Monday. He said 18 people spoke against temperature compensation and five people spoke in favor.

The agenda item, if it passes with a required 27-vote majority, would be a blueprint for a model regulation for states.

“What they’re saying is, if automatic temperature compensation shows up in someone’s backyard, not because we did anything ... but because the legislature decided to do it beyond our control, then these are the things that the state should have in place,” Siebert said.

– By David Tanner, staff writer