Hot gas robbing you - not so fast
By Autar Kaw

Opinion Editorial
The Tampa Tribune
June 22, 2007
Print Version
Claims that gasoline needs to sell as temperature compensated (sell by weight
and not by volume) in warm states such as Florida are not worthy to be
pursued. Gasoline transferred to gas stations at the industry standard of 60
degrees will give you 2 percent less gas if pumped into your tank in 90-degree
weather. This robs you of about 4/10ths of a gallon when you fill your
20-gallon gas tank on a hot summer afternoon, and as per some activists, it
results in a couple of billion dollars overcharged per annum in the USA.

Not so fast! Here are the quantitative arguments that are left out of most
reports.

First, most gas station tanks are underground, and the variation of
temperature below the ground is much smaller, maybe one to five degrees
depending on the depth of the tank below the ground. Lowering the depth of
the tank lowers the influence of the outside temperature because the earth
around it insulates the tank. Why do you think water pipes do not freeze up
north and cold water comes out of your tap in 95-degree weather in Tampa?

Second, even if temperature compensators were installed on gas pumps, oil
prices fluctuate every day because of supply and demand, and any changes at
the pump would simply get figured into the price of the gasoline.

Third, as per your argument, gas retailers are losing money when you pump
gas during outside temperatures of below 60 degrees.

If you still are not convinced, go for the early bird special - buy your gas at
dawn!

In my opinion, it is not going to make a difference. But then again, trade your
SUV for a hybrid. You will still feel robbed, though less often.

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