Inspectors Checking for Price Gouging at Gas Stations

Consumers urged to report possible price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Consumer protection inspectors are out checking local gas stations today to ensure that motorists are not being ripped off at the pumps in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Officials in Westchester and Rockland urged residents to report possible price gouging so that inspectors can check those stations and their records.

"Our inspectors are out in the field and they are working dillegently to protect the consumer," said Terry D. Grosselfinger, Rockland County's director of Consumer Protection as he was checking the Costco gas station in Nanuet.

At that station, there was a 90-minute wait for gas. Grosselfinger said there were no problems at the Costco station, and that it was selling fuel at normal prices and the employees were well-organized.

Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection, at the direction of County Executive Robert P. Astorino, has also sent inspectors to all gasoline stations to assess supplies and to make sure there is no price gouging.

If there is any gouging, officials said the information will be turned over the the state Attorney General's Office for possible prosecution.

"Taking advantage of consumers in need and raising prices without any justification will be investigated by the department," Astorino said.

John Gaccione, acting director of Consumer Protection in Westchester, said some stations are reporting long lines and other stations that have supplies are still without electrical power so they cannot pump gas.

"We are hopeful this is a temporary situation, but in the meantime we suggest that motorists conserve gas," said Gaccione.

Grosselfinger said his office received complaints of possible gouging in Airmont and Valley Cottage with prices rumored at about $5.50 per gallon, but inspections and a check of sales records did not find any evidence of gouging. However, he said one gas station in Valley Cottage — a BP station — was cited for having improper singage at the pump, with the sale price on the pump not matching the large price display.

Here are issues consumers face today:

- Gas stations closed because they don't have power.

- Lines to get fuel at stations that are open.

- Cash only: Grosselfinger said many gas stations are only accepting cash because their computer systems and credit card systems are not functioning yet.

- Supply uncertainty: Gas stations owners are reporting they are uncertain when their next fuel deliveries will be coming in because of delays as major fueld depots such as Bayone, NJ.

To protect yourself, Grosselfinger suggests that you get a receipt for your gas purchase. If you can't get a receipt, he says to use your smart phone to take a photo of the price and fueld amount display on the pump.

If you suspect price gouging, report it to:

In Westchester: 914 995 2155

In Rockland: 845-708-7600.

William Demarest (Editor) November 01, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Note from the Thruway Authority: Fuel is not available at the Sloatsburg Service Area, located I-87 northbound at mile marker 33.1, between exit 15A (Sloatsburg/Suffern), and exit 16 (Harriman). The next fuel available on the Thruway is at the Plattekill Service Area, located I-87 northbound at mile marker 64.8, between exit 17 (Newburgh), and exit 18 (New Paltz).
joshua tanner November 01, 2012 at 09:14 PM
The biggest price gouger is the state and fed government (just look at price difference between NJ and NY). If they were really concerned they could drop the tax for awhile. But the don't because they aren't
Program Director Luisa November 01, 2012 at 09:37 PM
what about costco
Concerned Homeowner November 01, 2012 at 09:43 PM
SPK November 01, 2012 at 10:17 PM
There is no such thing as gouging in a shortage situation
seaman27 November 01, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Citco in Pearl River I just paid $4.95 a gallon for regular gas....send the inspector!!!!
joan November 01, 2012 at 11:46 PM
what price would be considered gouging at this point?
natalino November 02, 2012 at 12:11 AM
All the things that need to be done to fix the grid so this stuff does not happen so bassically it will be worse next time and chris christy just handed obama the election and I think he was pissed at romney for saying he would defund fema and leave it up to the states and private industry. But next time its going to be worse no will to fix current problems and only profit is thought of so bassically it will not get better and winston churchill was right americans do the right thing after exausting every possible option so we as a nation are in our collapes as evey great empire has because. Of greed and the will to do what's right and the will not to act
Bob Rohr November 02, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Joan, they paid a price when the gas was delivered and they sold it at a profit. When they pop up the price $1.00 that is taking advantage in a bad situation.
SPK November 02, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Since when is cost the basis of pricing anything If prices were allowed to rise, then only those with the greatest need, say fuel for generators, would pay the price Panic buying would stop, most lines would disappear, station owners would be vilified, and order would be restored
EDelargy November 02, 2012 at 08:50 PM
$4.59 a gallon when 2 days ago it was $4.19?
Bill November 04, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Shell stations on Routes 6 and 202 in Cortlandt Manor are charging $4.79 for regular today. The one on 6 was almost a dollar less last week. Other stations in the area are under $4 for regular.
Bill November 04, 2012 at 12:42 AM
I just tried calling the number in this thread and the mailbox is full.
Bill November 04, 2012 at 12:43 AM
But that is the same amount as it as last week. Gas would not be more readily available if they dropped the taxes.
ken November 04, 2012 at 01:21 AM
What about the "cash only" now. I find it hard to believe all the station that are operating all lost their credit card terminal???? And they raised their price by 50-70 cents!!!!
John Anderson November 04, 2012 at 03:30 AM
There should be a 10 gallon limit, lines would actually move.
Bob Olori November 04, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Many people have generators to keep their family warm while O&R does their thing. The generator uses 5 gal a day if it is not run constantly. That leaves 5 gal for the car jjust enough to do a little shopping and maybe go to work if he is lucky. Then he can get back on line for another 10 gal. Stupid idea go to odd even and let people buy what they need. We have the gas we just have to get it to the stations.
Paul November 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Mobil on Hutch north of Mamaroneck avenue....hiking price 50c daily It was aready overpriced to begin with. Also Westchester website published gouging number to call. Its a voice mail system asking for 7 digit extension number****^^%%%$$##!!!!
jp1 November 04, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Mostly the state of NY.
Dakota Marin November 05, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Shell station on route 22 (Sir John's Plaza), North White Plains. Cash only, $4.49 a gallon Dom's in Croton on Hudson, NY. Super only, $4.69 a gallon Shell station on Rt 9, southbound side, at Rt 52, Fishkill NY - Super only, $4.64 a gallon Let's see if anyone gives a crap (not holding my breath).
Bill November 05, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Actually, many of them don't have phone lines, I'm sure. I was at a restaurant on Saturday night that uses Cablevision for their phone service and they were out;. They were running credit cards thru a card reader attached to someone's smartphone and using Square to process charges. The price increases are less explainable, at least not legally.
Bill November 23, 2012 at 02:29 AM
What the h*** is wrong with Patch that they are unable to catch and stop this spammer? I have reported it several times and no one seems to care -- they don't even remove the spam posts after I report them!
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