NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Attorney General’s Office has received 170 complaints about price gouging since the state gas tax holiday began on April 1. Gas station owners are now receiving letters, informing them they’re being investigated.
Garrett Johnson of Higganum pays over $100 to fill his truck’s 25-gallon tank. Although News 8 made him aware of the current price volatility, seeking out the cheapest prices just isn’t worth his time. He said he wouldn’t file a complaint with the attorney general’s office unless gas prices were “ridiculously out of control.”
“Had I known it’s a quarter cheaper just two minutes up the road, I would have driven over there, but I’m not spending half the day driving around looking for the cheapest price, to save 5 bucks,” Johnson said.
At a gas station in Cromwell, they’re charging $4.24 for regular gasoline, a quarter more than another gas station right down the road. But we are hearing from industry experts, that just because you see a price difference like this, don’t assume they’re price gouging.
“Wall Street is running wild, up and down any given time during the day, there are a lot of moving parts,” Chris Herb, the president of Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA) said. “Unfortunately, we are just focused on what your neighbor who owns that gas station is doing.”
The 1,200 gas stations CEMA represents have lost millions of dollars collectively by dropping their prices because of the gas tax holiday. He said it was a better business decision for them, rather than trying to fight the state in court.
“For small businesses in Connecticut, with the legislature not listening and the attorney general being very firm and almost bullying them to take a financial loss, that’s what we’ve experienced,” Herb said.
Attorney General William Tong issued guidance to drivers regarding suspected violations.
“It’s important to remember that prices at the pump will continue to fluctuate along with changes in wholesale prices,” Tong said. “Not every increase, or decrease, in gasoline prices is related to the $.25 tax or constitutes price gouging. Every complaint will be investigated and all facts will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.”
Out of the 170 complaints filed since the gas tax holiday began on April 1, Tong’s office sent 83 letters to business owners accused of price gauging asking for information, and 56 have responded so far.
If you file a complaint about a particular gas station, the attorney general asks that you provide the address of the gas station, the date and time of your purchase, and the receipt with the exact amount you paid.
Complaints can be filed online using the Office of the Attorney General complaint portal: https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/
The state gas tax holiday is set to end on June 30, 2022.