Vt. AG asks FTC to look into gas prices

Nick Rees Jul. 18, 2012, 5:44am


MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell wrote to the Federal Trade Commission on Friday to request that it look into the price of gasoline in the state.

"Vermont gas prices vary significantly, and are substantially higher in the northwest part of our state than elsewhere in the state and New England," Sorrell wrote.

"Unfortunately, the public protection resources available to the attorney general's office are limited, and so we seek the FTC's help in determining whether the existing gas prices in northwestern Vermont are lawful."

The higher gas prices in the northwestern part of Vermont have raised questions as to their legality. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has previously called upon the FTC to look into the price discrepancy.

The Vermont legislature, in a response to a request by Sorrell's office, passed an act in its most recent legislative session to criminalize anti-competitive collusion.

"The law is intended to encourage whistleblowers to come forward and assist the state in prosecuting antitrust violations," Sorrell said. "The new law underscores the importance to the attorney general's office of addressing anti-competitive behavior, and could be used by the state if such unlawful behavior has resulted in the disparate gasoline prices we are seeing."

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