Connecticut lawmakers to decide on cash discounts for fuel, delay tax hike

| 6/11/2008

The Connecticut General Assembly is meeting in special session Wednesday, June 11, to discuss a handful of hot topics. Fuel initiatives are expected to dominate the discussion.

House and Senate lawmakers are expected to decide whether to allow more fuel stations to offer cash discounts and delay a scheduled fuel tax hike. The cash discount effort would override franchise agreements between oil companies and fuel stations, thus allowing retailers to offer discounts to customers who pay cash to fill up.

About 85 percent of the state’s approximately 1,000 fuel stations are affected by such agreements, The Hartford Courant reported.

Advocates for the change say the discounts could save consumers between 10 cents and 20 cents per gallon in a state where a gallon of diesel is averaging $4.90.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has given the all-clear for lawmakers to adopt the change. At the request of Gov. M. Jodi Rell, he released a legal opinion on the topic and there’s no federal law that would prevent the state from approving the cash discounts.

Also on the agenda for consideration Wednesday is a plan to scrap a scheduled July 1 increase in the state’s tax on wholesale earnings from fuel sales. The tax is slated to increase from 7 percent to 7.5 percent.

The tax increase is expected to raise $25 million in revenue for transportation projects in the state while adding 7.7 cents per gallon to the price of diesel at the pump. Gas would increase by 3 to 4 cents.

The state’s per-gallon taxes would not be affected.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Connecticut in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor