The Federal Trade Commission has determined that an octane label proposed by Gilbarco, Inc. that is smaller than required under an FTC rule still would clearly and conspicuously disclose to consumers the octane level of the gas dispensed by the pump. The FTC therefore notified Gilbarco that it would permit the company to use the smaller labels on the pumps it manufactures.
Gilbarco sought the FTC ruling so that it could use the most cost-effective method of replacing the plastic buttons that consumers press to select the octane-level fuel they want from Gilbarco-made pumps. In 1988, the FTC allowed Gilbarco to place octane labels inside the selection buttons and to include the word "press" on the labels. Gilbarco recently told the FTC that the plastic buttons are prone to cracking or hazing over after prolonged exposure to gas fumes, and that switching to metal buttons would resolve this problem. Doing so, however, would require using a slightly smaller label than that required by the Fuel Rating Rule. The rule ensures that the bright yellow octane labels are clear and conspicuous by setting overall size, typeface and color requirements for them and by prohibiting other information from being included on them.
Gilbarco petitioned the FTC for a partial exemption from the rule on behalf of numerous gasoline retailers who purchase gasoline dispensers from Gilbarco. The FTC's rule imposes octane posting and certification requirements on refiners and retailers, so these companies would have been liable for noncompliance if they had used the redesigned labels on Gilbarco pumps, absent Commission action.
The Commission vote to grant the petition was 5-0.
Copies of a notice the FTC published in the Federal Register explaining the partial exemption are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC Matter No. R811005)