Thursday, June 12, 2008

Don’t forget the hot fuel

With the price of diesel fuel and gas at an all-time high, with crude oil finding new and exciting ways of rising in price, and with no sign of relief in sight, we need to keep an eye out for any method, any idea that will help truckers get through.

Which brings us to a familiar subject – hot fuel.

A regular caller to our show reminded us of hot fuel recently, and I agree – we will never see a better time to ask lawmakers to address this problem.

There’s a great explanation of how hot fuel works on OOIDA’s special web site,

The basics are this: When you buy a gallon of diesel fuel at 60 degrees, it contains 139,000 Btu, or British Thermal Units. That’s a measure of how much energy the fuel contains – essentially, the stuff you buy the fuel to get, the energy that makes the truck go.

If the fuel you buy has a temperature of 100 degrees – not really a stretch, as we’ve seen this in a number of fuel outlets – it contains 2,000 to 3,000 fewer Btu.

Now, let’s put it in even more concrete terms.

Let’s say you run 2,500 miles a week – 10 hours a day at an average 50 miles per hour, over five days. Some may run less, but for our example, let’s use this.

Let’s also say you get 6 miles per gallon on average. We usually use 5 mpg, but most truckers who have survived this long are working hard to increase that. So we’ll use 6 mpg.

That means you’re using roughly 417 gallons a week.

If your fuel comes out of the pump at 100 degrees instead of 60, you better make it 428½ gallons. Because that’s how much 100-degree fuel it will take to get you across the same 2,500 miles.

Doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? Try this on for size:

At $4.50 a gallon, that’s $52.50 extra a week.

And over the roughly four-month summer season, when hot fuel is most common, that adds up to roughly an additional $830.

If you faced that extra expense for the entire year – say, if you strictly drive along the southern tier of the United States – that could add up to an extra $2,700 a year.

Sounds like real money now, doesn’t it?

Lawmakers are looking for ways to help consumers with high fuel prices, not only at the pump, but also at the grocery store, the department store, everyplace where the price of fuel affects the costs the general public pays.

And that makes this a perfect time to call your elected representatives about this issue.

The number to call your U.S. senators and U.S. representative is (202) 224-3121.

Call your elected representatives today. And ask for change.