Comptroller Franchot Announces Partnership To Cool Sale of ‘Hot Fuel’

Annapolis, MD (July 3, 2007) – Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced a new partnership between his office and the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to test the temperature of gasoline storage tanks throughout the state to ensure that consumers are getting a fair shake at the pump. Working with weights and measures inspectors from MDA, Comptroller enforcement agents will begin temperature testing in mid July, to verify that gas is being properly stored at the reference temperature of 60 degrees or cooler.

When the average temperature of fuel in storage tanks at the retail outlets exceeds 60 degrees, it is commonly referred to as ‘hot fuel.’ When fuel is hotter, it expands and consumers may not be getting the expected energy value for their dollar.

“I am proud that my agents are working with inspectors from the Department of Agriculture to ensure that Maryland consumers are being protected at the pump,” said Comptroller Franchot. “With gas prices continually rising, consumers deserve to know whether they are getting what they pay for before they hit the road.”

“There is currently no long-term inspection data on actual fuel temperature at the pump anywhere in the country,” said Agriculture Secretary Roger Richardson. “This partnership will not only help protect consumers here in Maryland, but add to the information available to inspectors nationwide.”

MDA inspectors, will monitor and record data on the temperatures of storage tanks around Maryland over the next fiscal year to verify that fuel is being kept at proper temperature. After joint analysis of the data collected, the Comptroller’s Office will issue quarterly interim status reports, with the first report covering the period from July through September 30.

Today’s announcement is a part of an overall effort by the Comptroller’s Office to help consumers deal with the rising gas prices this summer. In addition to testing for ‘hot fuel,’ Comptroller Franchot previously announced that his agency would be asking oil companies to explain their rationale behind zone pricing as well as adding information to his office’s Web site to help consumers locate stations where prices are the lowest and file online complaints.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is responsible for making sure there is fairness in the marketplace by ensuring the accuracy of weighing and measuring devices, including fuel pumps. If consumers feel they are not getting an accurate amount of fuel, they report their concern by calling 410-841-5970 during regular business hours.

Joseph Shapiro, Comptroller’s Office, (410) 260-7305 work, (443) 871-2244 cell
Sue duPont, Agriculture, (410) 841-5889 (work)