exxonmobil and shell testify at hot fuel hearings

Companies under heat for backing different regulations in different countries.

Only July 25, senior executives from ExxonMobil and Shell will testify at a Domestic Policy Subcommittee hearing on “hot fuels” and what appears to be a double standard in the way they measure gasoline.

Hot fuel as been a controversial subject in the energy industry this summer. Many groups have come forward against gasoline suppliers for charging full price for fuel that is beyond 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This has angered consumers who feel that they are being ripped off since fuel expands and burns less efficiently when it is stored at temperatures above 60 degrees.

In Canada, the oil industry moved quickly to adopt Automated Temperature Compensation at the retail pump. But in the U.S., where temperatures are often considerably warmer than the industry standard of 60 degrees, the oil industry has resisted equipping gas stations with temperature compensating technology.

When the subcommittee held its first hearing on this topic on June 8, ExxonMobil and Shell refused to testify. Since that hearing, Chairman Kucinich requested a subpoena for those witnesses. On June 22, full committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wrote to ExxonMobil and Shell, requesting their voluntary appearance at a hearing of the subcommittee to avoid the necessity of a subpoena.

The purpose of the July 25 hearing is to examine the views of ExxonMobil and Shell on two critical topics: 1) How the companies justify opposing temperature compensation at retail, while conducting wholesale transactions with temperature compensation; and 2) how they justify opposing temperature compensation for retail sales in the U.S., while universally embracing temperature compensation at retail in Canada.


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