Weights and Measures Council to vote on 'hot fuel' proposal

| 1/25/2007

OOIDA made major progress Wednesday in the ongoing battle over "hot fuel."

At a meeting of the National Council of Weights and Measures in Florida, members decided to vote this summer on an important recommendation that could affect fuel retailers.

The proposal calls for providing retailers that want to install temperature-compensation devices with guidelines and procedures that would make the installation fair for consumers and sellers alike.

Under the proposal, it would be all or nothing for each retailer - all pumps at any given retail location would have to be temperature-compensated or all would not.

There is also a clause that says once turned on, temperature-compensating devices cannot be turned off for 12 months. And, in states that allow for voluntary temperature compensation, all stations would be required to have signage explaining that the pumps are or are not temperature compensated.

OOIDA Foundation Project Leader John Siebert - who argued in favor of temperature compensation at the meeting - told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio that if the signs go up, consumers will have a clear choice.

"That will give the consumers a really good handle on who is and who isn't, and if someone is, then they know they're going to be getting the equivalent Btu on the same labeled product," Siebert said.

Based on Siebert's research, OOIDA has long held that hot - or expanded - fuel delivers less energy than a gallon of fuel held at an industry-standard 60 degrees, and therefore short-changes truckers and other consumers.

"If you're buying 87 octane, you ought to get the same bang for your buck from anybody else's 87 octane," he said.

After The Kansas City Star published a series of articles on hot fuel - which were based in part on Siebert's research - four federal lawsuits were filed by various groups seeking temperature-compensation devices on fuel pumps, and compensation for consumers from the oil companies.

- By Reed Black, staff writer