When is a gallon of gasoline not a gallon? When you buy it anywhere else than Hawaii. It seems
Hawaii is the only state that takes into account the higher average
temperatures here. What does that have to do with a
gallon of gas?, you ask.
Well, as you know, a liquid
tends to expand as it is heated. The higher the temperature, the
greater the volume. But as volume goes up, down goes the
density (all other things being equal). Hence, the higher the
temperature, unless compensated for, the less energy you get
for your money. Put another way, you aren’t getting what you paid for.
Why other states or the federal
government don’t require temperature compensated gas pumps seems to revolve
more around oil industry influence then rational laws. On one hand,
where temperatures are high, the oil industry has opposed such pumps.
But where the temperatures are much lower and therefore the density is
actually higher, the industry has supported temperature compensated
So, how much more do customers pay the oil companies each year because of this lack of controlled
pumps? Well, a series
of articles in the Kansas City Star
says about $2.3 billion USD. That’s billions. Per year. Every year.
Yes, even if the pumps were upgraded, the oil companies could just raise its prices, at least you
would be getting what you paid for, regardless of the temperature.