Missouri, Texas bills address 'hot fuel'

| 1/2/2007

A Missouri state lawmaker wants to make sure consumers get what they pay for at the fuel pump. A similar effort is underway in Texas.

Rep. Kate Meiners, D-Kansas City, has introduced a bill for consideration during the session that begins Wednesday, Jan. 3, that would require a gallon of diesel or gasoline to have its volume adjusted for changes in temperature.

Not accounting for the temperature change leads to what is commonly referred to as "hot fuel." The change in temperature is an issue because when fuel gets hot and expands the amount of energy it produces drops significantly.

The bill would divide the state into 10 districts. The Missouri Department of Agriculture would be required to tailor a temperature-adjusted gallon for each district based on the area's average temperature.

Supporters say the effort is intended to change the current system, which doesn't account for temperature fluctuations at the fuel pump.

"It is something that is not right and needs to be corrected," Meiners told The Kansas City Star.

Others are hopeful efforts similar to this will be inspired in other states. Such a bill has been filed in the Texas Legislature.

Texas state Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, has filed a bill that also would specify the size of a gallon of fuel in each of 10 sections in the state. Those sections were originally established to estimate electrical usage, which also is affected by climate differences.

It also would require that consumers purchasing fuel in a district with fuel temperatures above 60 degrees to get a larger gallon than the current 231 cubic inches. The 60-degree mark is a century-old agreed-upon standard for the petroleum industry.

"(The bill is) designed to let consumers have the same benefits as manufacturers and retailers who buy a gallon and get a gallon but consumers in hot weather really don't get a gallon if temperature is not regulated," Solomons told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio.

The Texas Department of Agriculture would be required to regulate and enforce the temperature adjusted fuel.

The bill - HB37 - is awaiting assignment to a committee for the session that begins Jan. 9.

- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

 "Land Line Now" Senior Correspondent Terry Scruton contributed to this report.