Consumer Group Calls On Regulators To End “Hot” Gasoline Rip-off;

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Costs Californians $500 Million Because Pumps Not Responsive To Temperature — Schwarzenegger Asked To Replace Weights and Measures Administrator

Santa Monica, CA — The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights today called upon state and federal regulators to adopt new temperature sensitive gasoline pump technology in response to an investigation by the Kansas City Star. Reporter Steve Everly found fuel pumps that do not adjust for temperature cost Californians at least 3 cents for every gallon in warmer weather and overcharge Americans more than $2.3 billion annually.

When the temperature of gasoline rises above 60 degrees, the gasoline expands but pumps don’t account for the bigger volume and consumers receive less gasoline than they should, according to the newspaper. The technology to adjust for temperature has already been installed in Canada but domestic oil companies have resisted because they made an extra $500 million in profits per year in California due to failure to adjust for gasoline temperature. Hawaii is the only state to adjust its pumps for hotter gas.

FTCR President Jamie Court sent letters today to U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer calling for installation of temperature sensitive pumps. Click here to view the letters.

Watch a clip from FTCR’s press conference at:

“It’s outrageous that motorists, who are already paying too much for their gasoline so oil companies can make billions in profits, cannot rely on an honest measurement for every gallon of gasoline they pump,” Court wrote. “Every penny matters and oil companies should be accountable for every penny charged. I urge you to immediately embrace a requirement that oil companies update their gasoline pump technology to allot for temperature variation.”

In addition, Court asked Governor Schwarzenegger to remove a top California official responsible for defending the oil industry’s current technology. Dennis Johannes, assistant director for California’s weights and measures department, told the Kansas City Star consumers couldn’t understand the issue and trying to address it was futile.

“Governor, the average temperature of California gasoline all year long is about 75 degrees, which means that consumers are losing three cents for nearly every gallon they pump and that’s how oil companies are making billions,” wrote Court. “For Mr. Johannes to dismiss a solution to a $500 million rip-off of motorists in California shows he does not have consumers’ interest at heart. You should dismiss him from his post immediately and take steps to force oil companies to adjust their gasoline pump technologies in keeping with Hawaii and Canada. The California economy and California families deserve an honest measurement at the pump for every gallon and a fair price for it as well. Pennies add up for every motorist, and oil companies should be accountable for every penny they charge.”

Read the KC Star article, “Hot Fuel For You, Cold Cash For Big Oil,” at:
and “Technology, New Rules Can Fix Hot Fuel Issue,” at:

Court pointed out Schwarzenegger’s receipt of more than $2 million in oil company contributions.

“While you have received more than $2 million in campaign contributions from oil companies, your administration has yet to take a single step to help California motorists who have paid the highest price for gasoline in the nation and use more gasoline than residents of every other state,” Court noted. “Frankly, Governor, the requirement for new temperature sensitive pumps in a state like a California is a ‘no brainer.’ If you have any concern for the impact of high gas prices on the residents of our state, you will move immediately to force oil companies to change their current technology to be temperature-sensitive or, as Hawaii has done, recalibrate gasoline pumps to assume gasoline is stored at higher temperatures.”

Click here to view the letters to U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, California Gov. Schwarzenegger, and California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

Watch a clip from FTCR’s press conference at:

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Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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