DLCA Releases St. Croix Gas Price Analysis; St. Thomas Data Incomplete; St. John Subpoena Coming


St. John Gas Station Pricing Records will be subpoened, DLCA says.


The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs has released the results of its analysis of gas prices for retailers on St. Croix.

In January of this year, the department subpoenaed information from gas stations in the Virgin Islands, regarding their gas purchases and prices for the six (6) month period from July 2014 and January 2015. This was a time when the world and national trends revealed a decrease in oil prices and gas prices at the pump.

The majority of St. Thomas gas stations did not respond to the DLCA subpoena and the St. Thomas results were not released, according to the commissioner.  The St. Thomas gas stations that did not respond have been referred to the Attorney General’s Office for further enforcement action, according to a DLCA release.

The report also did not include St. John gas stations which are to be subpoenaed shortly, according to the release.

On one level, the study revealed what the public had already been aware of – that the prices being paid at the pump in the Virgin Islands were not reflective of the world and national trends where prices were on the decrease, Comm. Carrington acknowledged.

On another level however, the study also reveals the extent to which the gas retailers profited while paying less on their gas purchases, by not passing on the cost of their savings to the consumer, the commissioner stated.

Carrington characterized the behavior of the gas stations as less than consumer friendly.

In general, the numbers profoundly illustrate that the less money retailers paid for gas on the wholesale market, the more money the consumer paid at the pump, the commissioner said in a prepared statement.

While in a free market economy businesses are free to charge what they choose, businesses must operate in a principled manner, said Carrington. They should not profit unreasonably at the consumers expense, especially in these difficult economic times, the commissioner added.

Carrington urged the public to take a careful look at the results of the study which are being published in local newspapers and on the DLCA website and Facebook page.

Knowledge gained through information is critical to consumers organizing themselves to confront unethical business practices that are consumer unfriendly, the commissioner added. While the department has an important role to play, consumers must organize to advocate on their own behalf, he said.

The commissioner also added that in light of the continuing downward trend of oil prices, the department is issuing an order requiring wholesalers and retailers of gasoline in the Virgin Islands to submit a written request to the department prior to increasing prices at the pump.

The department is also contemplating further action authorized by statute to bring relief to the consumer, said the commissioner.