Archive for Monday, July 16, 2007

Hot stuff

Source-cooling, as in the case of motor fuel, was being considered and practiced here a century ago with natural gas.

July 16, 2007


We have an ongoing controversy about whether retail motor fuel pumps should be required to adjust for temperature fluctuations. With gasoline and oil costs so high, and perhaps due to get higher as the summer goes along, it is easy to see why pump-users want to get all they are paying for rather than having their costs driven up by fuel that has been expanded by the heat - thus causing it to register more gallonage than the buyer actually gets.

This concern is getting special focus now because of the oppressive prices of motor fuel, but it is not a new issue. A dollar here and a dollar there because of heat expansion of the gas and oil adds up to a great deal of money, which comes out of the pockets of the buyers and goes into the cash drawers of the sellers and wholesalers.

It is quite interesting, however, to note that a century ago, Lawrence citizens, with encouragement from the Daily World newspaper, were taking a close look at the potential value of "cool-downs" for another commodity with expansive potential - natural gas. Even then, people were dedicated to getting all they were paying for.

Somebody with a bent for tinkering around for one reason or another cooled off the natural gas connections at several residences. Rather than leaving the joints at summer outdoor temperatures, which could hit 100 degrees at this time of year, watering down and then applying damp cloths to the gas joints appeared to lessen the volume of usage by given homes. The process was reported to The World and various articles resulted.

This was quite a development in 1907. Natural gas was steadily gaining popularity and installations in homes and businesses were expanding rapidly. While the costs were a far cry from what natural gas suppliers charge today, pennies and dollars also came harder to people and they wanted to cut costs as much as possible. Thus the effort to "cool" the sources of the gas in hopes that it did not flow as heavily and would not cost so much.

Come to think of it, could that be a process to consider in these times when natural gas costs are so high?

The effort to adjust motor fuel volumes on the basis of temperature fluctuations makes sense, just as the cooling of the natural gas linkages did 100 years ago. Of course, the oil companies and gas suppliers are likely to counter with efforts to make sure people don't get more than they pay for in the winter when it is colder and contraction is likely in the pipes and pumps.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.