Gas stations across the East End of Long Island are charging higher prices for credit card purchases. In some cases the price differential can run to as much as a dollar per gallon.
Suffolk Legislator Jay Schneiderman has filed a new bill seeking to mandate that gas stations display the elevated credit card price at least as prominently as the discounted cash price for gasoline.
The bill will come before the Government Operations, Personnel, Housing & Consumer Protection Committee meeting on July 23 at the Suffolk County Legislature
“Drivers are lured into the gas station by the large signs along the road displaying the price per gallon, only to discover that the price at the pump is significantly higher if they don’t pay cash,” said Schneiderman. “This practice is deceptive and inconveniences drivers who will either pay the additional fee or have to get back on the highway to find another more affordable station.” According to the proposed law, gasoline retailers who charge a higher price based on the method of payment, must post the higher price at least as prominently as the discounted price.
Earlier this year Schneiderman sought to require these stations to alert consumers at the point of sale by including an electronic prompt at the credit card terminal warning consumers of the additional credit card charges. Gas station owners opposed the regulation claiming it was not possible for them to change the programming of the pump terminal in this way. That legislation remains tabled at the County Legislature.
In the interim, Schneiderman looked to provide another way to easily alert customers of large price differentials. Schneiderman felt that the best way to do that was to require that the street signage reflect the actual price of gas, not just the cash discounted price. “Current gas prices are the highest we have seen in some time,” said Schneiderman. “More than ever, we need to protect consumers from additional fees that can be avoided.”