gas prices

Drivers, Gas Station Owners React to Historic Prices in Connecticut

Energy experts want consumers to remember that gas station retailers are the first ones who suffer from these price increases because they're buying from wholesalers.

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Gas prices in Connecticut reached a new record high Monday. The current average price of gallon of regular gas in our state is $4.89.

That’s up two cents from Sunday, almost 70 cents from a month ago, and about $1.80 more than this time last year even with the 25 cent gas tax suspension in place.

An NBC Connecticut crew watched the regular rate of gas jump from $4.99 to $5.09 Monday at a Mobil in Cromwell. It's quite the jump compared to $4.79 there the Friday of Memorial Day weekend 10 days ago.

Shannon McKiernan chose a cheaper station down the road to fill up. She’s been waiting until her car’s almost on empty.

“It cost about $70 to fill my car," McKiernan said.

She finds stopping in Cromwell is more cost effective than gassing up where she lives in the Elm City.

“It’s crazy. It’s insane. Pretty soon I’m just going to get a horse and just ride a horse to work."

-Shannon McKiernan

Swarnjit Singh Khalsa, a Norwich city councilor, has operated a gas station for 12 years now.

“I have seen many incidents of gas going up and down," Khalsa said.

But Khalsa said this time it feels different because of the worldwide impact with the war in Ukraine, inflation, supply chain troubles, and other factors adding to the frustration, “When I think as a consumer the prices I'm paying is outrageous. So if I don't know ins and out and I don't really know about the geopolitics, political situation and how this war is affecting us, I think it's very frustrating for a lot of people.”

He hopes frustrated folks get involved, talk to your politicians and understand the geopolitics.

Right now, Khalsa and other operators are rising prices to cover wholesaler costs, to keep the lights on, pay their employees, but they don’t want to go too high because of competition.

 “So when prices go up quickly, you're hesitant to raise your price because if the guy across the street doesn't, you're going to lose customers,” Chris Herb, president of Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, which represents 70% of the gas stations in the state.

“I'll just be honest with your viewers, that when prices fall, that's when margins tend to grow because they don't race to the bottom as quickly, but they do fight on the way up,” Herb said.

Herb said retailers typically value selling more gallons of gas for a cheaper price, so despite allegations of price gouging he says even hypothetically that wouldn’t make good businesses sense right now.

So far, the office of Connecticut’s Attorney General hasn’t found any proof of this in our state as gouging complaints continue to roll in.

“When I go to buy a pair of jeans, I have no idea what it's being sold out at a different store and I'm probably not willing to drive miles to go comparatively shop, so I pay what they're what it's being offered for gasoline, you don't like that price, drive a half a mile, and you'll be able to find another one,” Herb said.

As prices continue to climb, some drivers are changing habits.

“I haven’t been able to save as much I feel like. That’s been the biggest thing,” said Dante Futia of Middletown.

Others are just closing their eyes to the cost,.

“I have no control over it personally, so I know I need to get gas, I got to get around, so I do what I got to do,” said Karen Marshall of Cromwell.

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