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Hot Gasoline Linked to $2.3 Billion 'Rip-Off'

Thursday, 7 Jun 2007 | 4:04 PM ET

Some consumer advocates fear that consumers may get less bang for their buck at the pump, as scorching heat physically expands the volume of gasoline -- while gasoline prices remain the same.

Judy Dugan, research director at the Foundation For Taxpayer & Consumer Rights, told "Morning Call" that the heat expansion -- and ostensible dilution -- of gasoline affects consumers negatively.

Hot Fuel
Summertime consumers may be getting less fuel than they think, with Judy Dugan, Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights research director; Lisa Mullings, Natl. Assoc. of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) CEO; and CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera

"It's a few pennies on a gallon, but it's a $2.3 billion rip-off nationally every year," Dugan said.

She recommended that U.S. pumps use the same kind of nozzles used in Canada, nozzles which measure the exact temperature of fuel as it goes in.

She added that oil giants intentionally sell gasoline at high prices to retailers, who then end up selling less gasoline to the consumer.

However, this isn't a "big oil" issue, said Lisa Mullings of the National Association of Truckstop Operators: "You are talking about mom and pop, small business operators." And she maintained that consumers get what they pay for, saying, "It's calibrated by federal and state authorities."

As for Dugan's recommendation, Mullings said that nozzles would actually harm consumers, driving up costs and leading to higher prices.