State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) has called upon the State’s Gasoline Price Stability Task Force to investigate the large disparity in regional gas prices. The Senator is also encouraging motorists to report their own findings to the Task Force hotline.
"There is a significant price difference among the gas stations, even in the Hudson Valley." Bonacic noted that gas in Westchester County was recently selling for $2.49 per gallon while at the same time in Orange County, it was selling well above $2.60. "Gas is historically more expensive downstate so it was particularly troubling that prices were higher in our community than in the immediate City suburbs," stated Senator Bonacic.
The New York State Gasoline Price Stability Task Force was created by Governor Pataki in December of 2003 and is comprised of representatives from the Consumer Protection Board, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the State's Attorney General's office. It was originally established to monitor and investigate gasoline price increases that may be related to the change in the gasoline blend, ethanol, instead of the banned additive called MTBE. The Task Force's creation is an effort to protect consumers’ interests, monitor the retail price of gasoline and investigate any allegation of price gouging or price fixing.
"Today’s gas prices, while lower than they were just a few months ago, are not reason to celebrate. New Yorkers are still paying too much at the pump - even after the State sales tax on gas was reduced earlier this year," Senator Bonacic said.
Senator Bonacic said that as of October 2, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the national average price per gallon is $2.31. "The gas stations in Ulster, Orange, and Sullivan Counties are charging in excess of 30 cents over the national average. Distributors need to recognize that we know the prices elsewhere are lower than the prices in our community and they need to reduce their prices. The Attorney General’s office and State Consumer Protection Board ought to be stepping in and forcing answers to the questions about gas prices," concluded Senator Bonacic.
The toll-free number established by the Task Force to report suspected gas price gouging is 1(800) 214-4372.