Kansas Jury: Selling Hot Fuel Does Not Violate the Law
KANSAS City, Kan. -- In what is being hailed as a victory for 7-Eleven Inc., QuikTrip Corp. and Kum & Go LC, a federal jury in Kansas City, Kan., ruled yesterday that selling "hot fuel" does not violate the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.
Hot fuel refers to a practice of selling gasoline above the industry standard of 60 degrees Fahrenheit without adjusting the volume of a gallon of fuel. A Kansas City Star report estimated that hot fuel costs consumers $2.3 billion annually.
7-Eleven, QuikTrip and Kum & Go were the main retailers who were sued in Kansas for alleged hot fuel practices. Other retailers have reached settlements in similar cases.
"We agree with the verdict and that selling fuel in gallons without reference to temperature is fair and accurate," Margaret Chabris, director of communications for 7-Eleven, told the Star. Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public and government affairs for QuikTrip, told the newspaper that the verdict affirmed that the retailers "were doing what we supposed to do by law."
Thornbrugh added that the verdict allows the consumer to come out victorious because QuikTrip does not need to take expensive steps, such as putting in new gas pumps and passing along the costs to its customers.
"I find it incredible that we get sued for following the law," he told the news source.
According to the news outlet, another charge against the three c-store chains that the hot fuel practice was "unconscionable" has yet to be decided. Instead of a jury, that charge will be ruled upon by judge Kathryn Vratil. It is unknown when she will rule.
Although the jury ruling is clearly a victory for the c-store retailers, it only involves the State of Kansas. About 30 hot fuel class-action lawsuits have been filed throughout the country. Among the retailers who settled multi-state hot fuel cases are Valero Corp., Casey's General Stores Inc., ConocoPhillips Inc., Shell Oil Products US and BP Products North America.