Gas prices in Burlington are well above state and national averages, and have been creeping above Federal Trade Commission predicted price ranges since May, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office.
The average price of gas in Vermont today, the office said, is $3.53. In Burlington, consumers were paying an average of $3.68 as of June 30.
Burlington is one of 360 cities around the country where gas prices are tracked by the Federal Trade Commission.
Sanders’ office said the FTC released data to the senator that revealed gasoline prices in Burlington in June were as much as a dime to 43 cents greater than a Federal Trade Commission computer model projected. In a statement, Sanders said the data showed Burlington gas prices were 15 cents to 29 cents higher than prices charged by gas stations in other Vermont towns only about 35 miles away.
Mitch Katz, an FTC press officer, said the commission received a letter from Sanders regarding the fuel prices and they they take such letters very seriously and were working on a response.
The FTC does not generally publicly comment on pending investigations because such an announcement could affect the market.
Attorney General Bill Sorrell said he had noticed a discrepancy in prices and had heard from some consumers on the matter as well. He said that while the issue can be frustrating, it often doesn’t add up to a crime.
“We, in the past, with the Federal Trade Commission, have been involved in looking at gas prices in the area. And quite simply if different gas stations look out the windows and see what their competitors are charging and decide to charge that amount, that is not a violation of our laws,” he said.
That doesn’t mean the Attorney General’s office won’t keep an eye out. Collusion, the act of collaborating with would-be competitors to set artificially high prices, would be hard to prove even if it was at work in a situation like this one, Sorrell said. While he wasn’t aware of any formal consumer complaints
You can read the rest of this article at: http://vtdigger.org/2012/07/08/ftc-probe-into-burlington-gas-hikes-spurs-sanders-allegation-that-big-gas-station-owners-are-gouging-customers/