With gas prices remaining stubbornly high in northwest Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., plans to call the top executives of the three largest gasoline distributors in the region this week with a simple request: Stop charging customers in Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin counties more for a gallon of gas than customers elsewhere in the state.
Sanders is planning to call Bruce Jolley, president of S.B. Collins, Jolley Associates in St. Albans; Skip Vallee, chief executive officer of R.L. Vallee Inc. of St. Albans; and Charles Cairns, president of Champlain Oil Co. Inc. in South Burlington.
“It’s a pretty simple and direct request,” Sanders told the Burlington Free Press. “They are charging consumers in northwest Vermont approximately 25 cents more per gallon than in other parts of the state.”
A check of www.vermontgasprices.com Tuesday showed the lowest price in the state in Springfield in southeastern Vermont, where regular unleaded gas was $3.44 per gallon. By comparison, gas was $3.79 per gallon in South Burlington, or 35 cents more per gallon. The national average price Tuesday was $3.43 per gallon.
Sanders said there is “no economic reason” for customers in northwestern Vermont to pay more for a gallon of gas, other than a “few cents” at most for transportation costs.
“The only reason they’re doing it is because they can get away with it,” Sanders said of the three distributors. “That is wrong. We’re in a recession. We should not be ripping off consumers.”