Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Petty Theft at the Costco Gas Pump
By Henry Curtis
UPDATE: Costco installed gas pumps that had standardized stickers that did not reflect the legal requirements of Hawai`i state law. Since the original article, Costco has partially modified its stickers to more accurately reflect state law.
When Costco sells you a gallon of gas, are you in fact buying less gas than when you buy a gallon of gas from a non-Costco gas station?
Idyllic weather, pounding surf and a warm, welcoming culture help make Hawai'i unique.
So does its gallon of gas.
The Hawaiian gallon contains nearly 234 cubic inches of fuel — about 3 cubic inches more than is dispensed in the rest of the United States.
The extra volume, required by state law, helps offset the hotter temperature in the tropical climate, which causes the gasoline to expand.
If the gallon weren't temperature-adjusted, Hawai'i residents would receive less energy per gallon than called for under the government standard.
That's because for nearly a century, gasoline and diesel have been measured across America as if they were being dispensed at a temperature of 60 degrees — a more condensed gallon of 231 cubic inches.
The larger Hawai'i gallon saves consumers in the state millions of dollars a year. But across the rest of America, consumers will lose an estimated $2.3 billion this year because of "hot" fuel.
No other state adjusts for temperature fluctuations when dispensing fuel, including warm-weather states such as California, Texas and Florida, where drivers lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
But is that what happens when you buy gas at Costco?
This notice is found just below the payment keyboard
Update: Costco does in fact give Hawaii residents a full gallon. Costco had mislabeled their fuel pumps and has since corrected the problem.
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