How Laws of Nature Impact Fuel Procurement

By Published On: January 25, 2024Categories: Daily Market News & Insights

When you’re in the business of fuel procurement, you might have noticed two different gallon amounts, net and gross, listed on your fuel delivery receipt. The difference between net and gross fuel purchasing stems from a law of nature called Thermal Expansion.

Imagine you have a balloon filled with helium. If you take it from a warm room into a cold one, the balloon shrinks and sinks. Why? When it gets warm, its molecules move faster, making them expand. When the balloon cools down, molecules slow down, causing it to shrink or contract. Fuel acts the same way; it expands when it’s hot and contracts when it’s cold.

Why Different Gallon Amounts?

Now, let’s get back to the two-gallon amounts on your fuel receipt: net and gross gallons. The difference lies in how fuel suppliers account for temperature changes. In the United States, it is set the standard temperature for measuring fuel: 60°F (15.6°C). At this temperature, one gallon of fuel takes up a specific amount of space.

When fuel is delivered, it can be hotter or colder than 60°F. So, to make sure you’re paying for what you get, the amount of fuel you receive at the delivery point is called “gross gallons.” Then, it is adjusted based on the temperature to get “net gallons.” In simple terms, Net Gallons = Temperature Adjusted Gross Gallons.

How It Affects Fuel Procurement

Here’s the key point: If you’re billed based on net gallons, it means your fuel has been adjusted to what it would look like at 60°F. For example, in cold states like Minnesota during winter, using net gallons could lead to overbilling because the fuel shrinks in the cold.

Therefore, companies in warmer, southern regions are usually billed based on net gallons since it’s typically warmer there. In cooler, northern areas, it’s often better to use gross gallons to avoid overpaying during colder months.

Secure North American Supply

Mansfield Energy provides reliable fuel supply across North America at competitive, market-based prices. For refined fuels, including diesel, gasoline, biofuels, and kerosene, we make sure you always have the fuel when and where you need it.

Mansfield holds over 300 refinery contracts nationwide with more than 900 fuel terminal supply points. Trust Mansfield as your one-stop Refined Fuels provider. Contact us today!

This article is part of Daily Market News & Insights


Subscribe to our Daily Feed

Daily articles and insights from the fuel markets and natural gas space.


The information contained herein is derived from sources believed to be reliable; however, this information is not guaranteed as to its accuracy or completeness. Furthermore, no responsibility is assumed for use of this material and no express or implied warranties or guarantees are made. This material and any view or comment expressed herein are provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed in any way as an inducement or recommendation to buy or sell products, commodity futures or options contracts.

Stay on Top of the Fuel Markets

FUELSNews, your daily source of marketing information and insights

Subscribe to our publications and newsletters