Comptroller addresses rising gas prices

Comptroller Michael Conners wants gas taxes to be posted at the pump.

Comptroller Michael Conners wants gas taxes to be posted at the pump. Alyssa Jung

— Conners also called for more regulation of energy speculators, who he said are largely to blame for increased prices at the pump. In the Capital Region, gas is nearing $4 a gallon and according to Conners, it’s not uncommon to see prices of $5 or even $6 at other places in the country.

“People think Stewart’s is making a bundle but that’s not it. The people that are driving the prices of your gasoline up are the people at New York Mercantile Exchange,” said Conners. “Prices aren’t going up because there’s a lack of fuel, they’re being driven up by energy speculators.”

Conners reached out to Congressman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, for support.

“We cannot keep mindlessly handing billions of tax breaks to big oil companies that don’t need it, while they and Wall Street speculators are raking in record profits at our expense,” said Tonko in a statement.

The comptroller’s office will be conducting a study on using greener fuel for Albany County vehicles, something Conners said Albany County Legislature Chairman Shawn Morse requested.

“We’ll be doing a study to look at all green fuels for Albany County’s fleet,” said Conners. “It’s a way to save money, a way to protect our environment and it’s an intelligent energy policy step at the local level.”

Conners said Albany County spent more than $1 million in 2011 on fuel for its vehicle fleet, and if those vehicles had run on natural gas it would have saved taxpayers about $600,000.

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