July 30, 2013 | Vol. 64, No. 15
Dear PEI Member:
A number of agenda items at the 2013 National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) annual meeting held earlier this month in Louisville were of particular importance to PEI members. Here's a brief summary.
A new NCWM workgroup has been tasked with developing a standard unit of measurement and method of sale for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations. Two possibilities are being debated―one based on mass and another based on gasoline/diesel equivalents. While more work is required to determine the best approach, every attendee who spoke on the subject noted that a decision must be made soon. With the number of public CNG and LNG stations rising dramatically, consumers expect and deserve a consistent approach across the nation―rather than a patchwork system in which different jurisdictions adopt different approaches. Expectations are that some sort of proposal will be presented at the 2014 annual meeting.
In a related matter, the Conference voted overwhelmingly to make kilowatt hours (kWh) the unit of measurement and sale for electric vehicle public charging stations. In the hearings on this item, only one speaker objected―a charging system manufacturer who suggested that requiring metering capability at each public station would impose undue burdens and costs on his industry.
With petroleum marketers offering increasingly complex discount programs at the pump, NCWM continues to consider new price posting and customer receipt requirements. Of particular concern to many attendees was the rapidly expanding use of smart phones―and the fact that many of those smart phone users prefer electronic receipts. The overall sense at the Conference was that any new rules will have to be extremely flexible to accommodate an almost limitless number of discount, payment and receipt scenarios.
The most contentious issue in the public hearings was a proposal to require that diesel dispensers have 10-micron (or smaller) filters, a significant change from the 30-micron filters used today by many marketers. The Laws and Regulations Committee initially proposed dropping the item altogether. However, after various protests and motions from the floor, the Conference voted to keep the 10-micron filter proposal open for future development and discussion.
Finally, NCWM's Fuels and Lubricants Subcommittee is discussing possible changes in the way ethanol fuels are identified at the pump. Their concern is that the growing number of ethanol blend options will increase consumer confusion and lead to more incidents of misfueling. The Subcommittee hopes to develop new, more precise terminology to differentiate the various blends and help reduce misfueling risks. For example, the familiar "E85" might become something more like "E85 Flex Fuel, minimum 80% ethanol." New language could be voted on as early as next year.
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This year's Convention features an outstanding educational lineup, including sessions on CNG fueling stations, mergers and acquisitions, health care reform, and the cost of a service technician. Al Bates returns this year to present an extended session on profitability, and we'll have a special session for women in the industry to share ideas on what possible benefits a woman's peer group might offer.
But educational sessions are just one of the many benefits of attending the PEI Convention. The trade show (October 13-15) features the cutting edge of new business-building products and technologies in our industry. You won't want to miss it. And you can take advantage of several valuable networking opportunities including the PEI Industry Reception, PEI After-Hours Lounge, and the Young Executives Discussion Groups and Reception.
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The TulsaLetter (ISSN 0193-9467) is published two or three times each month by the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Robert N. Renkes, Executive Vice President, Editor. Opinions expressed are the opinions of the Editor. Basic circulation confined to PEI members.