Is hot gas costing you money?
(7/25/07 - KTRK/HOUSTON) (KTRK) -- Oil companies are giving price breaks to drivers outside the US, but not to you. Some in Congress say they are breaks you should be entitled to. This week oil executives defended their decision in Washington.
We also found Ivan Ledet filling up his truck on the east side of Houston. He may not know why, but he notices his diesel is different in the summertime.When he puts 300 gallons in his tank in the winter, it's a little more than half full. But in the summer it's a different story. "I'll probably get maybe three quarters of a tank," he told us. It's called hot fuel and consumer advocates say it's costing you. Here's how it works. In the summer or wintertime you buy a gallon of gas. The size of a gallon never changes. It's what's inside that gallon that changes. When temperatures are cold, gasoline molecules are small. You get a lot of them in a gallon of gas. But the summertime heat causes everything to expand. You don't get as many of them in your gallon of gas. And that means you can't go as far on a gallon of gas, consumer advocates say, when gas is stored at a higher temperature. In Canada, American oil companies give drivers a price break in hot weather. The oil companies give gas station owners the same break. But when you pump your own, you're not so lucky. "How does the oil industry justify refusing to use temperature compensation for retail sales in the United States, while universally and voluntarily using them at retail in Canada," asked Rep. Dennis Kuchinich of Ohio. Kuchinich and groups like the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights say new pumps should be installed which would monitor gas temperature and pumps more when the gas is hot. Shell says that won't make a difference. "If retailers sell larger gallons, they will charge more for larger gallons," said Hugh Cooley of Shell. A University of Houston chemical engineer told us it's too small for the average driver to measure. "Whether it's winter or summer, all of the gas tanks are in the ground," said Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti. "The gas tanks in the ground, the temperature doesn't change as much as the ground does." It may be just pennies for you. Estimates range from 50 cents a tank to nine cents a gallon, but one consumer group says it adds up $1.5 billion in cash for the oil industry. That's money they get to keep and drivers like Ivan Ledet would love to have. "I don't know if they could do something better with the technology on fuel so I could get a better shake," he said. The national group that monitors weights and measures recently voted on a plan that would temperature adjust prices. It didn't pass. Two bills in the Texas Legislature this year would also have adjusted prices for temperature. They both failed.
(Copyright © 2007, KTRK-TV)
- Corvette driver killed by suspected drunk driver
- Fast food restaurant held up by armed suspects
- Oops! Noise complaint leads to drug bust 43 min ago
- Mom confesses to killing 3 young daughters
- One killed in house fire on Houston's south side 1 min ago
- Jet makes emergency landing in Honolulu
- Pre-St. Pat's bash erupts into chaos
- Fire marshal: Teen burned mom's clothes over marijuana
- Yates comes up short in 3A title game
- Students learn science through unique course