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Lawmakers To Hold Hearings On High Burlington Gas Prices

The House Transportation and Commerce committees are scheduled to hold a joint hearing next Thursday to gather testimony about high gas prices in the Burlington area.

The Burlington gasoline market is home to the second-highest profit margins in the nation. The high prices in that market are an issue that Sen. Bernie Sanders and others have focused on for years.

The hearing, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 22 at 5 p.m., is not unprecedented. In 2013, the two committees held hearings on the same topic, but the disparities between Burlington gas prices and other areas of the state have persisted.

Colchester Republican Pat Brennan is chair of the House Commerce committee. He said in a release that constituents have prompted this year's hearings.

"Gas prices in Northwestern Vermont are out of balance," Brennan said. "Price per gallon can vary anywhere from 20 to 40 cents. Our constituents concerns have compelled us to take another look at this important issue."

The legislature does not have the power to mandate certain gas prices or profit margins, but some lawmakers have called for increased oversight of sales of gas stations and better protection for whistleblowers who may come forward with information about price fixing.