Motorists Sue Oil Titans, Retailers Over 'Hot Fuel' Losses

"It's our view, generally speaking, that most Americans are made whole in the course of a year," Gilligan says. "They lose BTUs in the summer, but gain them back in the winter."

However, the consumers' attorneys say that in Canada — where gas temperatures are generally colder, and the advantage shifts to the consumer — temperature-adjustment equipment already has been installed at the gas pump.

George Zelk, a Chicago attorney representing truck drivers in several states, says the oil industry wants it both ways.

"The industry has pushed for this temperature adjustment in Canada, where they lose money, where it's colder than 60 degrees, and opposed it in the United States where it's warmer than 60 degrees," Zelk says.

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