Drivers Getting Hit at the Pump by Hot Temperatures - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Drivers Getting Hit at the Pump by Hot Temperatures

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ATLANTA (AP) - It is not just rising demand that sends summertime gasoline prices soaring. It is also the rising temperature.

As the temperature climbs, gasoline expands and the amount of energy in each gallon drops.

Since gas is priced at a 60-degree standard, motorists often get less bang for their buck in warmer weather.

Consumer watchdog groups warn the temperature hike could end up costing consumers between three cents and nine cents a gallon.

A House panel has been looking into the matter.  It said the effect could cost United States drivers more than one-point-five billion dollars over the summer.

The issue has driven trial lawyers to fire off as many as 20 federal lawsuits accusing retailers of using simple physics to take advantage of consumers. 

A clue to a possible solution? In Canada, where cold temperatures were giving consumers an edge, many gas stations voluntarily backed a program to add pumps that automatically adjust volumes based on temperature.