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Exxon Admits “Hot Fuel” Ripoff | Oil Watchdog

Press Release

Exxon Admits “Hot Fuel” Ripoff

CONTACT:

Tue, Jul 17, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Exxon Admits “Hot Fuel” Ripoff

    NEWS RELEASE
    July 17, 2007

    CONTACT: Judy Dugan, 310-392-0522, ext. 305, or cell: 213-280-0175

    ExxonMobil Pump Decals Will Admit "Hot Fuel" Ripoff to Consumers;

    Group Demands the Next Step: Fix the Problem

    Santa Monica, CA — ExxonMobil will put decals on its gasoline pumps
    in California and Arizona acknowledging that "hot fuel" may not deliver
    the full value of a gallon of gasoline, according to a report in the
    industry publication Oil Express. Exxon took the step to protect itself
    from class-action lawsuits that accuse marketers of defrauding drivers
    with "hot fuel," said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.

    FTCR said ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, should
    have announced plans to fix the problem, which would have gained its
    brand market share and consumer confidence. Instead, said FTCR, the
    company is just fending off lawsuits and making drivers angrier.

    "A cheap decal is like a tobacco pack warning," said Judy
    Dugan, research director of OilWatchdog.org and FTCR. "It may be Teflon
    against lawsuits, but it offers no protection to consumers. The cost of
    each decal may be less than the 50 cents a fill-up that consumers are
    paying for ‘ghost gas,’ the lost energy of fuel sold at high
    temperatures."

    The Oil Express report says the wording of the decal will be:

    "This device dispenses motor fuel by volume measured in
    gallons. It does not adjust the volume for variations in the
    temperature of the fuel. The temperature of motor fuel affects the
    energy content of each gallon dispensed."

    "The loss is perhaps 50 cents per hot full tank for individual
    motorists, and the collective loss to motorists in California alone is
    estimated at about $450 million a year in California," said Dugan.
    "ExxonMobil can’t evade its responsibility to sell gasoline fairly and
    honesty with a decal essentially saying ‘Yeah, we rip you off and what
    are you going to do about it.’ "

    ExxonMobil’s action follows a similar decal warning ordered by
    refiner Tesoro at its California stations, including the small USA
    Petroleum chain and more than 250 Shell stations recently acquired by
    Tesoro. At the time, other companies denied that they would follow
    suit, said FTCR.

    U.S. manufacturer Gilbarco already makes a gasoline pump nozzle
    that measures the temperature of gasoline as it leaves the pump, and it
    is widely used in Canada (where sellers benefit from lower gasoline
    temperatures). The head of the California Weights and Measures board
    has stated that the pump may be sold and used in California, but
    Gilbarco has declined to offer it for sale.

    Gasoline is adjusted for temperature variations from the
    national standard of 60 degrees when it is sold by the refinery to
    distributors, and when it is sold again to retailers. At each stage,
    the buyer receives extra gasoline to make up for expansion and energy
    loss if the fuel is over 60 degrees. However, the fuel is sold without
    any temperature adjustment to motorists, causing an annual loss of $2.3
    billion to drivers nationally. In California, the statewide average
    year-round temperature of gasoline is over 74 degrees, according to a
    federal study.

    "Sales must be honest to be fair. Yet the industry from the
    refinery level on down cheats both motorists and taxpayers by
    pretending that fuel is 60 degrees in order to fatten their own
    profits," said Dugan.

    The Oil Express article said ExxonMobil would require the decal
    at its company-owned and franchised stations, and would "encourage"
    others that sell the ExxonMobil brand to display the decal.

    – 30 –

    The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is
    California’s leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization. For
    more information, visit us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org and www.OilWatchdog.org.

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