McCaskill Brings Back 'Hot Fuel' Bill

July 22, 2009

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Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has reintroduced legislation requiring the installation of automatic temperature compensation equipment in all retail fuel pumps.

The Future Accountability In Retail Fuel Act of 2009, as it's called -- or FAIR Fuel Act -- would mandate the installation of the technology within six years to adjust the price of gas as it expands in warmer temperatures. 

When gas expands in warmer months, it reaches temperatures higher than the government standard of 60 degrees. When this happens, consumers get less energy for their money, according to a press release. This costs Americans about $2.57 billion a year.

The senator originally introduced the legislation in 2007, after reading a three-part series in the Kansas City Star exposing the issue.

The legislation includes terms that would assist retailers with compliance and impose penalties for those who do not comply.

Canada adopted a similar policy 15 years ago, after retailers were losing money due to the cold temperature of the fuel. Earlier this year, Costco Warehouse agreed to install the devices as a result of a legal settlement.

The National Conference on Weights and Measures recently decided not to consider installing automatic temperature compensation devices at retail fuel pumps. The conference voted to remove the item from its agenda, citing consensus against the devices as well as economic cost factors, lack of consumer benefit and absence of uniformity in the marketplace.

Groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and U.S. Public Interest Research Groups support the legislation.

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