Federal Trade Commission apologizes for inaccuracies over hot fuel

| 9/14/2007

The chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission has apologized to the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy for “providing inaccurate information” about how temperature affects the amount of fuel energy contained in a gallon.

The letter of apology sent by FTC Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras to subcommittee chairman Dennis Kucinich, D-OH, is another small but significant victory in the battle over “hot fuel,” say consumer advocates including OOIDA.

Kucinich had written to Majoras to point out that data communicated between FTC and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, was inaccurate and grossly underestimated the effects of hot fuel.

Issa is the ranking Republican on the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Majoras, according to Kucinich, stated to Issa that the effect of temperature on fuel was minimal – tablespoons in a 20-gallon tank for 20 degrees of fluctuation – and therefore the FTC would not be investigating the issue of hot fuel.

Some consumer groups believe that oil companies and fuel retailers knowingly profit from the sale of expanded fuel.

When Kucinich pointed out that the FTC’s data was flawed, Majoras replied with the following statement to the Democratic presidential hopeful from Ohio:

“I write to apologize for providing some inaccurate information in my August 28, 2007, letter to Congressman Issa. As Jeanne Bumpus, my director of congressional relations, has communicated to your staff, after I received your letter, we made further inquiries and confirmed that data we relied on was wrong. I highly regret the error, and I have directed my staff to conduct a thorough reassessment of the issue based on accurate data. I understand that our schedulers are arranging a meeting, and I look forward to discussing this issue with you.”

Judy Dugan of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said on the Web site, www.oilwatchdog.org that the Federal Trade Commission has “fallen on its sword.”

John Siebert, project leader with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, echoed Dugan’s sentiments.

“(FTC officials) have never indicated that they would take it up before, and now that they have, and they’ve screwed it up so thoroughly, we’re going to agree with Judy Dugan that they should now recuse themselves from anything regarding this,” Siebert told Land Line Magazine. “They’ve already shown their true colors that they are pro-oil.”

– By David Tanner, staff writer