The Foundation of Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is calling
for an investigation into whether pressure from oil companies contributed to a
fuel pump manufacturer withdrawing certified equipment from the market -
equipment that some people say would have solved a number of issues relating to
Hot fuel refers to fuel sold above a standard temperature of
60 degrees - the temperature where a gallon is truly a gallon by volume and by
the amount of energy it contains.
As oil company profits soar, and retailers continue to sell
fuel without compensating for expansion due to higher temperatures, pump
manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root is withdrawing its bid to bring
temperature-compensation devices for fuel pumps to market, according to the
consumer rights group.
In addition to the request for an investigation by the
California Attorney General, the group is also calling on U.S. Sen. Barbara
Boxer, D-CA, to hold hearings to force the oil companies to stop exerting
pressure on Gilbarco or other manufacturers.
"California is the test case for the temperature-adjusted
pump in America," foundation President Jamie Court stated in a press release.
"We must not allow one powerful industry to foil a fair and honest accounting
for American motorists."
Calls by Land Line to
Gilbarco regarding the situation were not returned.
However, spokeswoman Lucy Sackett, in a previous
conversation with "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio, said the withdrawal of
the equipment was based on logistics and a software problem.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights went
further, insinuating that it was big oil that caused Gilbarco to pull back.
A spokesman for another equipment manufacturer, Kraus Global
of Canada, told Land Line Magazine
that his company was ready to step up, get certified in California, and lead
the way to marketing such devices.
Fuel retailers drove the market in Canada to install
temperature-compensation equipment in the 1990s, because the fuel temperature
there generally averages at or below 60 degrees.
U.S. laws currently do not require fuel retailers to
compensate for fuel temperatures.
Plaintiffs involved in five federal lawsuits filed in
December 2006 by consumers - including several owner-operators and OOIDA member
- hope to change that. Those lawsuits ask that the federal courts order
retailers to use temperature-compensation equipment.
OOIDA is not a party in those lawsuits, which were filed in
California, New Jersey, Kansas and Missouri, but OOIDA Foundation project
leader John Siebert has led the way in research on the topic of hot fuel.
The Kansas City Star,
in a report inspired by Siebert's research, estimated that hot fuel costs
consumers between $1.7 billion and $2.3 billion per year.
- By David Tanner,