Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And don’t forget to write

Hot fuel has captured our attention more this year than in any other year, and we’re always looking for more ways to keep the stories fresh.

Maybe you can help us do that. If you come across hot fuel – whether through pulp-gauge readings, printed receipts that show fuel temperature, photos of pump stickers that show a disclaimer about fuel temperature and energy content, or other real signs of unusually high fuel temperatures – drop us a line here at Land Line. We are compiling real-life examples here at headquarters.

Randy, an observant owner-operator traveling through Chandler, AZ, sent us a photo of above-ground diesel tanks at a Love’s Travel Stop. He pointed out that these tanks had been painted flat black.

While we always say it is what’s inside the tank that counts, we have to admit that flat-black tanks in the hot Arizona sun just beg for a temperature reading. And that’s precisely what Randy did. He told us he “pulped” the fuel in his tank at 102 degrees after fueling at 9:45 a.m. last week.

Remember that fuel wholesalers and refiners use a 60-degree standard when they trade fuel, but there is no standard or regulation at the retail level. Somewhere in the chain, if fuel is allowed to heat up – let’s say when it’s stored in flat-black tanks, for example – consumers get the short end of the stick.

OOIDA helped discover “hot fuel” with a similar grassroots effort, as owner-operators took temperature readings for the OOIDA Foundation to conduct research on fuel mileage.

The Foundation strongly believes that hot fuel has a lot to do with getting poorer mileage, and someday the issue should be resolved.

Grassroots efforts do make a difference. Keep an eye out. And if you see examples of hot fuel, let me know.