Nearly 200 people have complained to Connecticut's Attorney General about high gas prices.
Drivers across the state are concerned that retailers aren’t reducing the per-gallon price by 25 cents. It's a mandatory measure that went into effect on April 1 and is expected to continue through the end of June.
"I've seen one station, I think in Middletown. It was $5.09 or $5.15 at the most. For a second, I thought we were in California,” said Anthony Cruze of New Britain.
Cruze said he used to pay $50 to fill up his tank. Now it's costing him close to $85.
Attorney General William Tong said while his office is investigating the complaints, not all high prices are due to price gouging. As of Friday, April 22, his office counted a total of 200 complaints, 101 letters, and 65 responses. He said the office has made 100 inquiries, questioning retailers that may not be following the new tax cut.
"So we give them a chance to explain themselves, and if we find that somebody has broken the law and charged the gas tax when they weren't supposed to, we won't hesitate to take action, including bringing a lawsuit,” Attorney General Tong said.
At the University of Hartford, economics professor and department chair Dr. Farhad Rassekh said other factors are likely driving up the cost.
"Economic activities have picked up quite a bit, at least in the U.S., and the demand for gasoline has increased. Well, that pushes up the price,” said Rassekh.
He said it isn’t too surprising that gas prices a year ago were $2.92 because of the pandemic when there was less economic activity. Dr. Rassekh also cited constant changes in supply and demand for crude oil, a global commodity, as another reason for the rise in prices. The war in Ukraine was another.
"So, while it might not seem as good as some might have expected, seasonally and what's going with the world, it's on par,” said Tracy Noble, AAA’s spokesperson for Greater Hartford.
Noble said Connecticut’s gas tax holiday is making a difference since the average price per gallon is $4.00 which is less than New York's $4.23, Massachusetts’ $4.13 and Rhode Island's average price of $4.10.
If you think there’s reason to believe a gas station's prices are unusually high, Attorney General Tong asks that you explain why, where, how much and provide a photo. His office will investigate it further.