When consumers feel the heat, Big Oil makes cold cash

Mother Jones
by Brian Beutler

08/13/07

A gallon of gasoline contains a certain number of molecules, which combust in your car’s engine to provide it with energy. If you heat up that gallon of gasoline it will expand, leaving you with a larger volume of gas than the gallon with which you started. But your new volume will contain the same number of combustible molecules and therefore will provide the same amount of energy as it did prior to being heated. That means a tank full of ‘hot’ gas will provide a car with less energy than will the same tank full of ‘cool’ gas, which is why you’ve probably been advised (correctly) not to buy gasoline when it’s hot outside. Simple, right? It is if you live in Canada, at least. There, gasoline retailers install metering systems in their pumps to determine how much the fuel they sell has cooled or heated from its standardized refinery temperature, and then adjust the price accordingly. … Of course, on average, Canada is pretty cold and the United States is pretty hot. So it benefits both retailers and oil companies to correct for temperature in Canada, but to price by volume in the United States...

//www.motherjones.com/news/update/2007/08/heat_big_oil.html


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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