consumers file class action against retailers over hot fuel

Major chains like 7-Elven and Shell top off the list of defendants.

The controversy over hot fuel continues as three Oklahoma City-area consumers begin seeking class-action status on a lawsuit against retailers they feel are cheating them out of money, according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit is file against 13 retailers and oil companies, and claims that the gasoline they sell us kept at temperatures higher than the petroleum industry standard of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, causing the fuel to expand and provide less energy per gallon.

“The sellers of hot motor fuel are able to pocket these billions of additional dollars in temperature-inflated profits merely because the fuel they are selling is warmer than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and customers are ignorant of the truth,” the lawsuit claims.

Defendants in the lawsuit include 7-Eleven Inc., Albertson’s LLC, ConocoPhillips Co., Shell Oil Co., Texaco Refining and Marketing Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Vance McSpadden, executive director of the Oklahoma Petroleum Marketers Association, questioned the reasoning behind for the lawsuit, telling the Associated Press that tanks that above ground are more susceptible to temperature changes, however, the benefit consumers get from colder temperatures in the winter would offset the difference.

“This is a feel-good deal for the consumer, but I don’t think there’s any basis to it at all,” McSpadden said. “If there is, it’s very small. It’s certainly not billions of dollars.”

According to McSpadden, if the lawsuit were successful, it could cause an increase in price due to retailers installing new equipment to adjust the sales volume to account for temperature variances.

“This isn’t against the major oil companies,” McSpadden said. “The people who are going to have to spend money on this new equipment are individual retailers, generally independent businessmen.”

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