The problem of hot gas

The problem of hot gas

Though the price of gas has come down recently, the cost of gasoline has been pumped up for some time.  Now there are new questions, about a hidden way, consumers may not be getting their money's worth when they fill up.

Now, a Kansas City Star investigation fueling another gas controversy.  A 100-year-old government standard calls for a gallon, 231 cubic inches, to deliver the amount of energy gas has when it's stored at 60 degrees.  As gas gets hotter, like in Florida, it expands, diluting its energy, and reducing miles per gallon.

"So if it's 80 degrees it takes 234 cubic inches of fuel to get the same amount of energy," said Steve Everly of the Kansas City Star. "In essence you're being shortened when the temperature goes over 60 degrees."

The amount of energy per gallon you lose as gas gets hotter is an exact scientific measurement.  Put simply, it's estimated that on a hot day you could lose the equivalent of about a quart of gas per fillup.

Nationwide, critics estimate to it could mean $2.3 billion dollars of extra profit for oil companies, because when most oil companies, distributors, and stations purchase gas, the rules change.  That gas is temperature compensated.  Special equipment adjusts the amount pumped according to its temperature.

Figures compiled by the government found gas stored in tanks at Florida stations averaged over 82 degrees, the highest in the continental us.  Figures say temperature compensation is the fairest way to sell gas.

The oil industry says the high cost of retro-fitting gas pumps would have to be passed on to consumers, but the Independent Drivers Association is fighting for temperature compensation.

Only one state, Hawaii, has temperature compensated gas.  Experts recommend buying gas in the morning.  When it's cooler, it works in reverse, and you get more energy per gallon.