August 31, 2007
by State & Local Wires
Ariz drivers losing gas at the pump when they fill up in summer
PHOENIX, AZ — The state Department of Weights and Measures is
taking fuel temperatures at gasoline stations and considering voluntary temperature compensation after reports that drivers filling up their tanks are losing some gas to evaporation in the summer heat.
"Arizona is the epicenter of hot-fuel rip-offs," said Judy Dugan, a founder of OilWatchdog.org, which is calling for stations to compensate for the temperature of gasoline they sell.
Studies show that there is less energy in a tank full of
105-degree gasoline than the same tank filled with 70-degree gas.
However, stations charge by the volume of gasoline they sell, not how
much energy it contains.
Consumer advocates estimate that Arizona drivers could be losing a dime per gallon every time they fill up in the summertime.
Major oil companies and independent station operators argue that
retrofitting pumps and compensating fuel sales for temperature won’t
save consumers money and oppose moves to require such equipment or even
allow it in the marketplace.
At least 38 lawsuits have been filed nationwide against gasoline stations and oil companies.
The Arizona Department of Weights and Measures is taking fuel
temperatures at stations to get a 12-month average but already has
found summer temperatures of about 104 degrees.
Based on that data, motorists in the Phoenix metropolitan area
pay about $1 more for a 15-gallon fill-up than they would for the same
amount of energy if the gas were 60 degrees, the industry standard.
That figure rises when prices hit the $3 mark they saw earlier this summer.
A recent report for the U.S. House found Arizona has the highest
hot-fuel premium nationwide, based on temperature data collected in
"You notice when you fill up, then park overnight and the gauge
reads less than full in the morning," said driver Sam Battaglia, a
member of the independent-truckers group pushing for temperature
The Arizona Department of Weights and Measures investigates
about 1,000 complaints a month regarding gas pumps, but it hasn’t taken
a stance on hot fuel, according to spokesman Steve Meissner.
Information from: The Arizona Republic.