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Lower Price at the Pumps?

Thu, 06/13/2019 - 12:36

Lower gas prices, on par with those found in other areas of Long Island and New York State, may be on the horizon for the South Fork.

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. last Thursday announced that his colleagues had overwhelmingly supported his proposed ban on “zone pricing” for gasoline. Zone pricing refers to the practice of charging for fuel based not on the terminal price of gas but rather on the geographical region. The practice does not account for other costs that influence competition among gas stations.

After the Assembly passed the bill outlawing zone pricing, 121 to 21, it will go next to the State Senate. Senator Kenneth P. LaValle is the sponsor in that body.

“Big oil companies have historically charged higher prices on the South Fork, as well as other areas such as Westchester County and Utica, without regard to cost,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement. “It is clear that consumers on the South Fork need further protection from this unfair business practice.”

New York State passed a law in 2008 outlawing zone pricing, but “compliance has been sporadic and enforcement has been difficult” since then, according to Mr. Thiele. His legislation strengthens what he called a “weak” set of rules so that the state attorney general’s recommendations against zone pricing, issued in 2011, can be fully enacted.

“This legislation is necessary to strengthen the zone pricing law by correcting several flaws which currently preclude effective enforcement by the New York State attorney general,” Mr. Thiele stated.

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