Burlington City Councilor Proposes City-Owned Gas Station

By:  Alicia Freese

The cost of gas in Chittenden County is "absurd," according to Burlington City Councilor Max Tracy — which is why he wants the city to consider opening its own station to sell gas to the public at a more reasonable rate. 

The Progressive councilor plans to introduce a resolution to explore the idea at next Monday's council meeting.

For several years, residents and public officials alike — including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — have bemoaned the price at the pumps in the Burlington area,which is sometimes more than 25 cents per gallon higher than in places like Rutland. They've pointed a finger at several large gas dealers that dominate the region, arguing that the lack of competition has kept prices high. 

Sanders, who held a hearing in Burlington two years ago to discuss the problem, has suggested the same solution. 

It’s not unprecedented. At least one city, Somerset, Ky., has set up municipal-run stations to address a similar situation. An NPR story about the decision quoted one critic who described it as part of a "socialist movement," but the Republican mayor who set the plan in motion said it has successfully reduced gas prices.