In­ves­ti­ga­tion of Ver­mont Gas Prices

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - Burlig­ton, VT

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has called for a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion into un­usu­ally high gas prices in the Burling­ton area com­pared to other parts of Ver­mont, New Eng­land and other ar­eas through­out the coun­try.

In a let­ter to U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder and Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion Chair­man Jon Lei­bowitz, Sanders wrote: “I am writ­ing to urge the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Work­ing Group and the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion to con­duct a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine why gaso­line prices in greater Burling­ton, Ver­mont (Chit­ten­den, Grand Isle and Franklin Coun­ties) are sub­stan­tially higher than other parts of the state, New Eng­land, and sim­i­lar ar­eas through­out the coun­try.”

Dur­ing one month, prices in greater Burling­ton fell just 15 cents a gal­lon -- from $3.84 to $3.69 for reg­u­lar un­leaded. That’s the low­est price re­duc­tion in any of the 15 metro re­gions through­out New Eng­land, ac­cord­ing to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Re­port data. The av­er­age price drop at th­ese New Eng­land metro ar­eas for a gal­lon of reg­u­lar un­leaded was 25.9 cents dur­ing the month ex­am­ined.

Greater Burling­ton in­cludes Chit­ten­den, Grand Isle and Franklin Coun­ties. The anal­y­sis con­ducted by Sanders’ of­fice used the AAA data for monthly gas price changes with the month end­ing June 25. Dur­ing this same time pe­riod, prices fell as much as 34 cents per gal­lon in Manch­ester, N.H.

A price dis­crep­ancy is of­ten seen with some of Ver­mont’s neigh­bor­ing states. Mon­day morn­ing, for ex­am­ple, Ver­mon­ters paid an av­er­age of $3.55 a gal­lon for reg­u­lar un­leaded. Mean­while, mo­torists in New Hamp­shire paid $3.36 a gal­lon, on av­er­age. The mod­est 7 cent tax dif­fer­en­tial be­tween the two states does not ex­plain this 19 cent price dis­crep­ancy, which is even greater – 27 cents a gal­lon – when com­pared with greater Burling­ton, where reg­u­lar un­leaded sold for an av­er­age $3.63 a gal­lon Mon­day morn­ing ac­cord­ing to AAA data. The av­er­age price of reg­u­lar un­leaded sold in Ver­mont has been sell­ing for more than the na­tional av­er­age since April 2012, while gaso­line in New Hamp­shire gas has been sell­ing for less than the U.S. av­er­age since May 2012.

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