You Ask. We Take Action: Why Vermont drivers pay more at the pump

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Gas prices are plunging across the country, including in Vermont. 

Still, one viewer still feels a little pinched: “Can anybody tell me why with the price of crude oil at $51.00 a barrel, and prices of gasoline in other parts of the country as low as $2.30 a gallon, why our gas is still at $2.83 a gallon here?” 

Good question. 

Prices seem high in Vermont because there’s a price lag in rural states, where rapid and significant declines in the market aren’t immediately felt at the pump, said Dan McTeague, a senior petroleum analyst for GusBuddy. 

“It’s in that drop, the fact that it’s dropped so quickly, that many gas stations may still be selling inventory they bought, which was much more expensive, a week or a week and a half ago,” she said.

The average in Vermont for a gallon of unleaded Thursday morning was $2.72 — nearly 20 cents higher than the national average and the fifteenth most expensive gas in the country, according to McTeague.

The nationwide drop in prices is being driven by a $26 decrease in the per-barrel cost of crude oil from more than $60 in early October to $51 this week.

McTeague says many analysts feared the Trump administration’s expected sanctions on Iran would lead to reduced supply. That may have led to fears by retailers, as well, that prices would go up. 

But increased production by the US, Russia and other OPEC nations, along with exemptions from the sanctions issued by the State Department, has created a glut in supplies.

“That’s really left a lot of oil on the global markets, and it’s not likely to be resolved at least until the first weekend of December,” McTeague explained.

So, Vermont and the rest of the country will continue to drop in the next week to ten days, he said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see over the next week or so prices going down here by at least ten cents a gallon,” he said.

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