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July 12, 2007 12:00 PM, EDT

Standards Group Fails to Pass ‘Hot Fuel’ Reform

A measure that would have set standards for “hot fuel” fell just short of passage at a meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures, the Kansas City Star reported.

One body of regulators voted 24-16 in favor of the measure and another voted 23-16, but under the group’s rules, 27 votes in each were required for passage, the Star said.

NCWM delegates engaged in strong debates on the measure, and some vowed it would come up again, the paper said.

The issue has become more intense because fuel expands and contracts depending on temperature, but U.S. retail pumps make no adjustment for volume changes caused by temperature, so consumers get 231 cubic inches per gallon regardless of temperature, the paper said.

At hotter temperatures, that amount of fuel delivers less energy that would cooler fuel.

The group Natso, which represents truck stop operators, said Thursday that the issue needed more study and that it was pleased with NCWM's deferral of a decision.

“Given that no thorough independent study looking at both the scientific and economic impacts of temperature compensation has ever been conducted, any other decision would have been premature," Natso President Lisa Mullings said in a statement.

The group said that automatic temperature compensation devices "would actually increase the costs for consumers."

Several warm-weather states, including Arizona, North Carolina, California and Texas, are considering implementing their own measures for hot fuel, the Star said, Congress has already held hearings and may become more active on the issue too.

(Click here for previous coverage.)