In their latest round of misleading statements about hot fuel, Big Oil executives made one thing clear: Their customers don’t matter.
Testifying last week on Capitol Hill, the executives tried to convince Congress to let the companies continue selling gasoline from pumps that do not adjust for temperature.
Shell Oil Vice President Hugh Cooley said his company “does not believe that the American consumers are harmed in any way.”
But they are. In warmer months, gasoline expands and — if retail pumps aren’t adjusted for this — motorists get less energy than they pay for.
The cost to consumers: an estimated $2.3 billion a year.
That comes from overcharges of up to 30 cents a gallon in the hottest months.
So much for motorists not being “harmed in any way.” Meanwhile, the oil industry has been raking in healthy profits the last few years.
Another brazen statement came from Ben Soraci, Exxon Mobil’s director of U.S. retail sales. He told Congress that current state laws and regulations make it “unlawful to sell gasoline on a temperature-compensated basis.”
First of all, only nine states currently prohibit the sale of temperature-adjusted fuel.
But in any case, nobody would be asked to violate state law. The debate is about whether there should be a federal law that supersedes state regulations when it comes to selling hot fuel.
The oil industry is being hypocritical as it battles installation of modern pumps in this country.
The petroleum companies didn’t have any problems supporting temperature-adjusted pumps in Canada.
That’s because those pumps work to their advantage. The equipment makes sure motorists don’t get too much energy from gasoline that contracts in cold weather.
U.S. consumers must rely on Congress to protect them on this issue, especially since the National Conference on Weights and Measures has failed to approve fair, reasonable guidelines for states to follow.
Congress needs to ignore the deceptive rhetoric from the oil industry. A new federal law should mandate the sale of temperature-adjusted gasoline with new or retrofitted pumps.