Senator reintroduces bill to stop ‘hot fuel’

| 7/21/2009

A bill to halt the sale of “hot fuel” at the pumps has new life thanks to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO.

McCaskill first introduced the Future Accountability in Retail, or FAIR Fuel Act, in 2007 but it did not advance. She refiled the legislation on Tuesday, July 21.

Hot fuel refers to retail fuel sold at temperatures higher than 60 degrees. Oil companies, refineries and wholesalers calibrate their sale prices among themselves to the century-old temperature benchmark, but retail fuel prices are not compensated for changes in temperature.

McCaskill’s bill would require retailers to install automatic temperature compensation devices on their pumps within six years. The bill also provides financial assistance and incentives to make it happen.

OOIDA supports the McCaskill bill because the issue is about fairness to consumers.

At current fuel prices, hot fuel costs consumers an estimated $2.57 billion annually according to McCaskill.

The subject of hot fuel has been the topic of congressional hearings and a multi-jurisdictional lawsuit currently being fought in U.S. District Court. A handful of OOIDA members are involved in the federal lawsuit against retailers and oil companies.

At a recent convention, the National Conference on Weights and Measures chose not to take up the issue of automatic temperature compensation, or ATC, at fuel pumps after facing strong lobbying from petroleum marketers.

McCaskill points out in her press release that retailers in Canada hastened to implement temperature compensation devices on fuel pumps 15 years ago when the numbers showed they were losing money because of “cold fuel.”

– By David Tanner, staff writer