Kansas Jury: Hot Fuel Not Deceptive

Numerous class-action lawsuits have been filed across the U.S. in 26 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, alleging oil companies and fuel retailers improperly profited from the sale of hot fuel.

In a victory for QuikTrip, 7-Eleven and Kum & Go—three c-store retailers in a “hot fuel” lawsuit—a federal jury in Kansas City, Kan. decided that selling gasoline that isn’t adjusted by volume for its temperature (hot fuel), does not violate the Kansas Consumer Protection Act,  The Bellingham Herald reported.

The case, in the U.S. District Court of Kansas, was the first to come to a jury verdict in years of legal proceedings over the practice. The jurors found, 10-0, that selling fuel over the industry’s 60-degree standard was not “deceptive” under the state law.

QuikTrip, 7-Eleven and Kum & Go were not alone. Several other retailers settled earlier this year regarding their sales practices in Kansas and other states.

“We agree with the verdict and that selling fuel in gallons without reference to temperature is fair and accurate,” said Margaret Chabris, director of corporate communications for 7-Eleven.

Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public and government affairs for QuikTrip, told The Bellingham Herald that the verdict affirmed the retailers “were doing what we were supposed to do by law.”

Another charge—whether the practice was “unconscionable” still has yet to be decided and will be determined by Judge Kathryn Vratil, rather than a jury. It is not known when she will make her ruling.

“Hot fuel” refers to gasoline sold above the industry standard of 60 degrees without adjusting the volume of a gallon of fuel. Gasoline at higher temperatures contains less energy per gallon, and gas is routinely adjusted for temperature in the U.S. along the refinery and wholesale supply chain, but not at the pump.

About 30 class-action lawsuits have been filed across the U.S. in 26 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, alleging oil companies and fuel retailers improperly profited from the sale of hot fuel.

The Kansas ruling only impacts the defendants in this case, as it pertains to their Kansas operations.

 

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