Riddle me this, Gasman

On Friday, I had to drive from Montpelier to Burlington. And, since gas is always more expensive in the Queen City and environs, I made sure to fill the tank before I hit the freeway.

But when I got to Burlington, what to my wondrous eyes did appear?

Gas was cheaper. Anywhere from five to 15 cents a gallon cheaper than in Montpelier.

Huh.

This hasn’t happened in, I don’t know, roughly forever. Gas is always more expensive in Burlington.

For years, Bernie Sanders has been alleging price fixing by the four companies that own most of Chittenden County’s gas stations. The companies have consistently denied any collusion — although, it must be noted, they usually bring down their prices for a while after Bernie kicks up a fuss. And then quietly goose them back up once the heat’s off.

Still, no matter how loud Bernie gets, they’ve never actually gone lower than adjacent markets.

So what could have caused this historic price drop?

Oh, yeah:

Gasoline distributors accused of price gouging in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties are going to court.

A class action lawsuit filed in Chittenden Superior Court on Monday by the Washington law office of Bailey Glasser LLP and Burlington Law Practice PLLC claims that gas distributors R.L. Vallee Inc., SB Collins Inc., Champlain Farms/Wesco Inc. and Champlain Inc. conspired to illegally fix gasoline prices in northwestern Vermont.

That suit was filed on June 22. Less than two weeks later, Chittenden County gas prices have taken a plunge.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidhahahahahaha.

Here’s a bit of free advice for the Chittenden Cartel: making such a transparent move doesn’t disprove the charges — it actually lends weight to the lawsuit.

I mean, if those companies weren’t colluding, how come they all managed to cut prices at the same time, shortly after the filing of a legal challenge?

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One thought on “Riddle me this, Gasman

  1. Matt

    Exactly right! For the first time in the decade since I’ve been paying attention, I get cheaper gas by filling up around Burlington BEFORE traveling to Montpelier or Middlebury… or even Massachusetts. We’re on par right now – or even below – Rutland’s prices, which is reliably the cheapest I find in Vermont. (I do not travel to Bennington or the NEK much.)

    Talk about obvious. Thanks for pointing this out!

    Reply

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