SPECIAL REPORT: U.S. House report validates ‘hot fuel’ rip-off

| 6/7/2007

Thursday, June 7, 2007 – A new U.S. House oversight committee report states consumers will pay in the range of $1.5 billion more than they should this summer because of “hot fuel.” This is the first time that a Congressional report of this nature has been published.

The report, scheduled for release Friday, June 8, by the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Committee of Oversight and Government Reform, begins by stating “American consumers will pay a hot fuel premium of $1.5 billion on regular gasoline purchased during the summer 2007.”

The release of the report falls on the same day the subcommittee chaired by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-OH, convenes a hearing on hot fuel and the alleged consumer rip-off by fuel retailers and oil companies.

The report, obtained by Land Line Magazine, outlines how fuel expands and contracts based on temperature. It reiterates that fuel is sold by volume – gallons – and not by weight.

“Hot fuel” is simply gasoline and diesel sold at temperatures higher than a century-old standard of 60 degrees. That standard defines the amount of energy content by weight in a 231-cubic-inch gallon of fuel.

The report and subsequent House hearing will shed public light on various aspects of hot fuel, including a fuel temperature survey conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“Our calculations reveal that 518.7 million gallons of gasoline sold in the summer 2007 will be attributable to the thermal expansion of gasoline, and that consumers will pay a hot fuel premium this summer in the range of $1.5 billion,” subcommittee members wrote in the report.

Kucinich has called representatives from large oil companies to the hearing to testify.

According to subcommittee members, the hearing will consider how the petroleum industry in the United States “addresses hot fuels, including both wholesale and retail transactions.” The hearing will also delve into what is currently underway at the governmental level, including matters before the upcoming meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures.

The subcommittee will also hear how government and industry in Canada have addressed hot fuels, ultimately leading up to what steps, if any, the federal government should take in respect to hot fuel.

  • The hot fuel hearing will be available for viewing on the Web. Click here to view it live, beginning at 9 a.m. EDT, Friday, June 8.

– By David Tanner, staff writer