Owner-operator feels the burn of ‘hot fuel’ – twice

| 8/7/2007

It was a blazing hot Sunday afternoon in Kingman, AZ, when owner-operator Darcy Currier pulled in for fuel at a TravelCenters of America stop.

Going through his routine, the OOIDA member from Youngstown, OH, witnessed first-hand what “hot fuel” is all about.

“Fuel coming out of the fuel nozzle was so hot, it burned my hand,” he told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio on Monday, Aug. 6.

Knowing through media coverage that “hot fuel” refers to gasoline and diesel sold at retail pumps at temperatures higher than 60 degrees, Currier decided to take his own reading.

“After I got done fueling, I took my pulp gauge out and I pulped the fuel in my tank and it pulped at 120 degrees,” he said.

After consulting the management of the TA at Exit 48 at the junction of U.S. Highway 93 and U.S. Highway 40, Currier said he was shown a computer printout stating the fuel in the below-ground tanks was 119 degrees.

A spokeswoman for TA did not return Land Line’s calls to confirm the in-ground temperature.

Knowing that hot fuel costs American consumers up to about $2.57 billion per year – according to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, who introduced legislation this week to provide a computerized fix to hot fuel at the retail pump – Currier grew frustrated.

“Hot fuel does not burn properly in these motors that we’re running up and down the highways, not to mention that the hotter the fuel, the less energy there is in the fuel,” he said.

“After it cools off, it’s going to affect my fuel mileage tremendously.”

Currier said truckers will end up paying more in IFTA taxes when they run on hot fuel. IFTA payments are based on the number of gallons consumed and the number of miles driven in a given state. Because the fuel is hot, he will be burning more gallons to drive the same number of miles. Therefore, it will cost him more, he said.

“It’s going to show a significant loss in my fuel mileage which is also going to affect my fuel taxes,” he said, “because it’s going to show me getting horrible fuel mileage.”

For more information on the topic of hot fuel, click here.

– By David Tanner, staff writer

Staff Writer Reed Black contributed to this story.