An open letter to state Sen. John McKinney, R-28; and state Reps. Brenda Kupchick, R-132; Kim Fawcett, D-133; and Tony Hwang, R-134:
Your constituents, especially those of us who aren’t in the hedge fund industry, need your help. With Gov. Dannel Malloy planning to raise our taxes and asking all of us to "make sacrifices," most of us need relief in this struggling economy.
One category worth pursuing? Here’s one vote for lowering the outrageous gasoline prices at service stations in Fairfield County.
Pricing in our county is uniformly higher than in other areas in Connecticut, apparently in the belief that most of us garner seven-figure salaries (last time I looked, I couldn’t find my name in that category) or have a steady cash flow from 401(k)s.
A survey of our community’s 20 stations on Thursday revealed a disparate range of $3.57 per gallon all the way up to $3.79.
According to ConnecticutGasPrices.com, the lowest reported price in the state on Thursday was $3.29 at a Stop & Shop in Enfield. That's nearly 30 cents per gallon lower than Fairfield's lowest.
There were more than a dozen other retailers with prices in the $3.32-$3.46 range – in communities such as Farmington, Wethersfield, Unionville, Niantic, Meriden, Berlin, New Britain and, somewhat closer to home, Milford.
Note the one thing all have in common: None of those towns and cities are located in Fairfield County.
(For the record, Connecticut's average price ranked fifth, at $3.63.1 per gallon, among all 50 states on Thursday. Hawaii ($3.82), California ($3.819), Alaska ($3.777) and New York ($3.635) were higher. Wyoming was the least expensive, at $3.091.)
Legislators, I encourage you to join forces with your colleagues from lower Fairfield County – Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Wilton, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, et al. – to create a movement in Hartford that will eliminate Big Oil’s legal thievery known as zone pricing.
Zone pricing, as most of you know, allows refiners to set uniform wholesale prices and supply branded gasoline to company-owned and franchised dealers within a distinct geographical area or zone.
On the list below, you will note that the Fairfield station with the highest price, Sunoco, is located in the heart of Greenfield Hill. It was $3.79 per gallon there. No surprise there. Let’s sock it to the millionaires on the hill.
Okay, Fairfield has its share – more than its share? – of affluent residents. But what about the single mother who works two jobs to make ends meet? The retired guy or woman who lives on a fixed income? The unlucky soul who just lost his or her job/had his or her hours cut/lost his or her benefits? The couple with unusually high medical bills?
There are hundreds, nay, thousands, of your constituents in these groups. Gentle legislators, please give some thought to helping these people by pooling your talents of persuasion and going after Big Oil. You can make it happen.
Eliminate zone pricing in Fairfield County.
Here are the local per-gallon prices for regular as of March 3 (with prices from our Jan. 25th survey in parentheses):
$3.57* Shell, 2424 Black Rock Tpke. ($3.25)
$3.58 CITGO, 2047 Post Road ($3.29)
$3.59 Sunoco, 654 Post Road (not included in 1/25 survey)
$3.59 Urby’s, 831 Post Road (not included in 1/25 survey)
$3.61* Irving, 2405 Black Rock Tpke. ($3.25)
$3.62 CITGO, 1096 Post Road ($3.27)
$3.62 CITGO, 2515 Black Rock Tpke. ($3.29)
$3.62 Gulf, 1101 Post Road ($3.27)
$3.63* Star, 350 Jennings Road ($3.25)
$3.64 Gulf, 975 Kings Highway E. ($3.31)
$3.65 Shell, 1139 Post Road ($3.27)
$3.66 Mobil, 1271 Stratfield Road ($3.33)
$3.66 Mobil, 2120 Black Rock Tpke. ($.3.33)
$3.68 Sunoco, 500 Grasmere Ave. ($3.29)
$3.69 Mobil, 2093 Post Road ($3.39)
$3.69 Sunoco, 2629 Easton Tpke. ($3.39)
$3.71 Santa, 550 Commerce Dr. ($3.36)
$3.74 Shell, 3232 Post Road ($3.45)
$3.75 Gulf, 3617 Black Rock Tpke. ($3.39)
$3.79 Sunoco, Bronson Road ($3.64)
closed BP, 721 Kings Highway ($3.33)
* Prices are cash only. For credit, per-gallon price jumps to $3.67 at Shell, $3.71 at Irving, $3.79 at Star.