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North Shore Report: Steep Credit Price at the Pumps Ignites Region

The outrage was flying this week and we discovered a string of local gas stations tacking on an extra buck per gallon for customers paying with plastic.

Deciding whether you'd pay an extra $10 to $20 a fill-up just to use your credit card at the pump is a choice one owner of several local gas stations is asking locals to make. And the result has been a spewing of outrage.

The story actually started when Alex Silverman, a reporter with CBS 880, tweeted a picture from a pump at Mobile station in Smithtown.

"90 cents more a gallon for credit? Seriously? Mobil in Smithtown, LI #gas," the reporter posted.

After reaching out to him, Silverman sent us to the Mobil station on Jericho Turnpike and Old Willets Path, where sure enough , which an employee at the station said was set on purpose. A quick call to the Long Island Gas Retailers Association and we learned that there was nothing illegal about the practice.

On the other hand, reactions to the story showed just how unsavory the price difference was to locals.

"This gas station is awful ... I NEVER go here because of the sickeningly high prices compared to other stations in the area. It baffles me when I see customers pulling in," wrote one commenter, while others implored locals to only visit stations that don't charge a price difference for cash or credit.

Turns out the steep credit price hike is only being done by one owner, who runs a chain of Mobil and Gulf stations in the Smithtown, Hauppauge, Ronkonkoma and Brentwood area. Multiple calls to the owner, however, went unanswered.

But there was another concern. A separate local Gulf station owner said he was worried the steep difference at some stations .

"It definitely impacts how we do business. Customers who go into a station like that and see a $1 discrepancy leave with a bad taste in their mouth," he said. "They don't see it's owned by a single dealer. To them, it's a brand name like Gulf or Mobil," said owner Dan Ornstein.

The news was hardly contained to Patch. Stories about the price gaps showed up on Newsday, Fox, CBS and WPIX prompting hundreds of comments in fierce discussions.

Next came the politicians, with state Sen. Lee Zeldin, R-Shirley, proposing legislation would require gas stations charging more than a 10 cent difference between cash and credit prices to display both sets of prices on their street level displays. Meanwhile, state Sen. Kenneth LaValle proposed a bill that targets the pricing directly. His bill would .

Who knows where this story takes us next week.

Britannic1 March 20, 2012 at 02:07 AM
"We Heart Long Island" Your comment regarding Red Light Cameras is far from fact. Even though this Patch section is mainly about high gas prices I feel you need to be more informed. With the way some of the traffic lights have been configured, especially along Rt 347, it is very easy to get caught since drivers have less that 6 seconds (by an out of date NYSDOT law) to respond. There have been traffic signals available for years that give warnings when they are about the cycle. A longer amber light would be more than fair considering that Rt 347 was never intended, nor designed, to have an average speed limit of 50mph and an ill timed, antiquated traffic signal every tenth of a mile on average. Also, these cameras are not set up to catch everyone at all of the intersections where they have been set up.. If you are turning left onto Old Town Rd off Rt 347 eastbound you can run the red light all you want. The cameras are not set up to catch you. Take a look when time permits.
We Heart Long Island March 20, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Red means stop. Always has. I'm informed. You're not. Google is your friend.
Charlie Gardner March 20, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I could care less if that station, or any other for that matter, charged $10 a gallon - cash or credit or any other other type payment! Why? Because I don't go there!! Why would I? There are at least 15 other stations within one mile or less from that location. Is anyone twisting your arm to go in there? It's a free market. Who says that you or anyone else has the "right" to determine what a retailer should charge? And if it is obscenely over what most others are charging (which it most certainly is) DON"T GO THERE! He will only survive if enough people continue to patronize the place. And, if they do, it's their choice.
John Gruber March 20, 2012 at 02:11 PM
those red light cameras are a sham. You know how many people speed up to get through those lights or slam on their breaks and end up being rear ended? also, they take pictures of when you cross the line, even if you don't run the light which so what's the point of a camera that doesn't work properly?
We Heart Long Island March 20, 2012 at 02:23 PM
They send a video with the ticket. The cameras work fine. These systems are not new. They have been in use around the world since the 1960's.

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