U.S. senator from California tackles 'hot fuel' issues

| 3/26/2007

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, is convinced that it was pressure from big oil companies that swayed a manufacturer to withdraw equipment designed to ensure fairness at the fuel pump.

Boxer recently told a select group of California reporters and The Kansas City Star reporter Steve Everly by teleconference that manufacturer Gilbarco Veeder-Root had succumbed to pressure from oil companies to withdraw temperature-compensation equipment for fuel pumps. The company had just gained state certification for the equipment and had planned to begin marketing it.

Boxer told the reporters she would keep an eye on the issue and that she planned to bring the issue to the attention of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Hot fuel refers to diesel fuel and gasoline sold above 60 degrees - a national standard that guarantees a consumer gets a certain amount of Btu energy in a standard size U.S. gallon. In other words, it defines a gallon of fuel in terms of energy content in addition to volume.

It was the reporter from The Kansas City Star who in part used OOIDA Foundation research to expose to the mainstream the alleged consumer rip-off.

During the teleconference. Boxer said she spoke with Gilbarco officials to try to convince them to move forward to market their temperature-compensation product. Boxer told reporters that Gilbarco officials were considering a return to marketing the equipment.

Land Line's calls to Gilbarco have gone unreturned throughout the process.

There is no regulation or law that forces a fuel retailer to compensate for temperature, but groups of plaintiffs involved in a number of federal lawsuits filed against retailers and oil companies want that to change.

The Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights - a taxpayer group in California - has also asked the state attorney general to investigate the effects big oil may have had in Gilbarco's situation.