Fuel Smarts

Hot Fuel Web Site Launched to Educate Consumers

July 15, 2007

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Did you know you might not be getting your money's worth at the fuel pump? At warmer temperatures, diesel and gasoline expands, decreasing the amount of energy (Btu) per gallon purchased. The "Turn Down Hot Fuel"
campaign will educate consumers on how "hot fuel" may have them paying higher prices than necessary for fuel.
The campaign is spearheaded by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), and includes a Web site at www.turndownhotfuel.com.
The phrase "hot fuel" refers to expanded diesel fuel or gasoline that is sold at retail pumps at temperatures higher than the century-old government standard of 60 degrees. That is the temperature/volume used in the petro-chemical industry to measure all petroleum liquids at the refinery and every point after the refinery, except at the retail pump.
At the 60-degree standard, a gallon of fuel delivers a certain amount of measurable energy, referred to as Btu. But when expanded by higher temperatures, that same amount of fuel actually delivers less energy. The warmer the fuel, the less measurable energy and fewer miles to the gallon a vehicle will receive.
Devices can be installed on retail pumps to make up the difference called automatic temperature compensation retrofit kits. Many consumers mistakenly believe that filling up their car's gas tank in the morning will save money.
But this is not the case.
"Temperatures of the fuel in underground storage tanks do not change dramatically enough during a 24-hour cycle," said OOIDA Project Leader John Siebert.
Some also mistakenly believe in-ground tanks at gas stations keep fuel at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the insulated, fiberglass tanks tend to keep fuel at the temperature it was delivered. Larger retailers turn over fuel supplies very rapidly, greatly reducing the time the fuel spends in the tanks.
Congress has stepped in to address the issue. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, called the first-ever congressional hearing on hot fuel last month, where his staff unveiled a study claiming hot fuel would cost consumers $1.5 billion this summer alone. He called a second hearing for July 25 specifically to get representatives from major oil companies to testify about retail fuel practices.

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