Senator Bernie Sanders has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate why gas prices in northwestern Vermont have been notably higher than elsewhere in the region.
Last month, gas prices in the Burlington area were 10 cents to 43 cents higher than an FTC computer model projected they should be. And gas profits in the area in June were double the national average, making Burlington the most lucrative gas market in the northeast.
"What it tells me is that, with a wink and a nod, for some time now, a handful of gas stations in Chittenden County, Franklin County, Grand Isle, maybe Lamoille, have more or less been able to control prices. And when prices went down nationally, they went down a lot slower in northwest Vermont," Sanders said.
In the past few weeks, though, that has begun to change. As gas prices elsewhere in the region have been rising, prices in Burlington have stayed relatively steady.
"When we put that spotlight on them, I think some of them began to say hey, we better start moving, and show people that we’re not going to continue to rip them off," Sanders said.
Sanders says there will be a hearing soon on the issue, and that more transparency is needed when it comes to how gas prices are set.