SPECIAL REPORT: Missouri senator files bill to stop ‘hot fuel’

| 8/3/2007

Friday, Aug. 03, 2007 – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, introduced legislation on Friday, Aug. 3, aimed at stopping the sale of “hot fuel” to consumers.

Hot fuel refers to retail gasoline and diesel sold at temperatures higher than the 60-degree standard used for wholesale transactions by fuel refiners and retailers.

McCaskill introduced the Future Accountability in Retail Fuel Act – or FAIR – that would require the installation of automatic temperature compensating equipment in all retail gas station pumps within six years to adjust the price of gas as it expands due to warmer temperatures. Reports indicate that Americans spend $2.57 billion more than they should for gasoline and diesel fuel, due to expanded hot fuel.

The need for McCaskill’s legislation was inspired by the Kansas City Star’s three-part series on hot fuel last year, which uncovered that the simple laws of physics were scamming consumers at the pump.

Retailers currently measure fuel at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and consumers are paying a price for gas based on that temperature. However, warmer temperatures cause gas to expand and, as a result, consumers are getting less gas. As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, McCaskill pledged to work toward a solution to the hot fuel problem.

“Some say, ‘you get what you pay for’. That’s just not the case at the gas pump in the summertime,” McCaskill said in a press statement issued late Friday. “We have the technology to change that, and there’s no good reason not to utilize it.”

In addition to requiring all retail gas stations to install the new temperature compensating technology within six years, the FAIR Fuel Act would offer assistance for retailers to comply, and impose penalties for those who fail to ensure consumers are receiving the gas that they pay for.

“The big oil companies are the most profitable corporations in the universe, and yet they continue to fight against consumer protections while we pay the price,” McCaskill said. “The least we can do in Congress is ensure consumers are getting what they pay for.”

The FAIR Fuel Act has been hailed as common-sense consumer protection legislation. Groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Public Citizen, Consumers Union, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Consumer Federation of America and U.S. Public Interest Research Groups (USPIRG) have endorsed the legislation.

Watch this Web site for more on McCaskill’s efforts to deliver on her campaign promise to require gas pump technology to protect consumers. For more information on the topic of hot fuel, click here.