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Three Oil Companies Settle in 'Hot Fuel' Suit

4/9/2012 11:45:00 AM
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Three oil companies have agreed to settle lawsuits related to “hot fuel� — gasoline and diesel that is not adjusted by volume to account for temperature — the Kansas City Star reported.

Fuels expand in warmer months, lessening the BTU content per gallon and raising the price to consumers, the Star reported in an award-winning series published in 2006.

The paper then estimated that hot fuel cost consumers $2.3 billion a year, and said that at current gasoline and diesel prices, the price tag is now about $3.5 billion.

Attorneys for oil firms BP Products North America Inc., ConocoPhillips Co. and Shell Oil Products US told a federal court last week that they have reached a binding settlement agreement with plaintiffs who filed lawsuits over the issue, the Star reported.

The first lawsuit — which comes after five years of pretrial proceedings — is scheduled to go to trial next month in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., the paper said.

The lawsuits seek a remedy such as retrofitting pumps so that they would automatically adjust volume of a gallon of fuel depending on the temperature, which has been done for decades in Canada, the Star reported.

Trucking groups hailed a 2010 decision by the National Conference on Weights and Measures not to proceed with proposals to regulate the temperature of retail fuel at the pump.

The national standard-setting group was slated to take up two resolutions at its annual meeting that year, but said an overwhelming majority of comments opposed that.

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