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City Councilman: Gas Price Gouging Found On Hutch Parkway

2 CITGO Stations Jack Prices Across The Board Above $4

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pain at the pump got more severe last week. AAA said the average cost of a gallon of gas jumped about 15 cents.

Drivers are on the lookout for price gouging, but one local official said the city is allowing it to happen right under its nose, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

The price at this pump is enough to make your heart jump.

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“I was really blown away by the price!” one driver said.

It’s $4.09 a gallon for regular at the two CITGO stations on the Hutchinson River Parkway just north of the Bruckner. One driver didn’t pay attention and a fill-up cost him $63.

“Kind of in a hurry, coming back from vacation, just wanted to get where I was going, did not look,” said Tracy McMillan of Fairfield, Conn.

Aiello looked and found gas 40 cents cheaper at a nearby Hess station, 50 cents cheaper at a BP station and 60 cents cheaper at an independent station. And that has Bronx City Councilman James Vacca calling for action against the CITGO stations.

“They’re obligated to be in sync with surrounding gasoline prices in the immediate community,” Vacca said.

The CITGO stations sit on city land and operate under a deal with the Parks Department. Last summer the department warned the stations about price gouging — reminding the owner to offer “quality and price as prevail at other stations within a 5-mile radius.”

“I want the city to terminate this contract,” Vacca said, adding “$4.09 is nowhere near any gas station in the immediate vicinity, and they’re violating the terms of their agreement.”

These prices are actually an improvement over last August, when this station was caught selling gas for about 90 cents more per gallon than other stations in the area.

The owner denied gouging, telling Aiello the stations are expensive to operate because of the rent the city charges — despite their convenience on the parkway.

Some drivers told Aiello the prices at the stations are always peculiar and that they always just drive right on by.

It turns out, there’s cheaper gas at the next exit.

Late Monday the Parks Department said based on complaints it is “evaluating” prices at the CITGO stations.

How angry does this make you? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Tony Aiello
  • BobbyGibby

    I am a gas station owner and a democrat. I never made more money than I am about to right now under obama. I can remember when people were fussing about Bush and Cheney raising gas prices for their BIG oil friends but right now with my dear faithful to the people President Obama me and my fellow gas station owners are very happy! Our President shut down all our domestic oil production like he promised us he would do and gas prices are going to sky rocket! I can’t wait until President Obama gets oil prices up to where he promised he would at $10 a gallon. I’m going to make so much money!! I Thank You Obama!! And your friends in big Oil!! That Bush and Cheney could not do what you are about to do to the price of gas!!

  • Tom

    Want to drive the price of gasoline down? Easy. Quit buying from major gas companies lie Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Standard, etc. Buy from independent stations who sell for less and let the major oil companies compete with them. Could be a price war.

    • David

      Where do you think these independents get their gas….

      You can’t hurt the biggies this way.

    • TN Brushman

      Tom, rather than calling you names, I suggest you go to Snopes and read what they have put together regarding your suggestion: The short form is that the idea won’t work. The only way to lower the price is by either cutting real demand (actually using significantly less product), or by government proclamation (if you don’t remember what the gas lines of the 1970s were like, ask someone who does).

    • meeester11

      Classic dope. Let’s all hurt the “big” companies. Yawn.
      They just don’t get it. Not a word about “I’ll drive less” or “I’ll turn my heat down” or “I won’t buy little bottles of water” EEK packaged in plastics etc.
      Gas will have to get soo crazy high before I . . .oops. Was I going to say before I care what they pay.
      Hahaha. I won’t care what they pay.

  • Fritz

    Maybe a repeat, but doesn’t CITGO gas come from Venezuela ?

    • oil boiler for 32 years

      No, Venezuela holds and interest in the company Citgo. Citgo refineries are in the US, so the gas comes from the US. They may run foreign crude though…

  • Wally DeRemer

    And we use to worry about 3 bucks a gallon

  • charles

    The rent on that government property is probably outrageous. People can just go somewhere else or pay for the convenience. I needed windshield washer fluid and paid $4+ a gallon at a royal farms cause I needed it right then and there due to running out in bad weather. It’s like $1.50 at the supermarket. I call that bad planning on my part. But I guess I can call the gouging police too and whine like an ignorant fool.

  • kramartini

    And if every station in the area charged the exact same price, they’d be accused of illegal price-fixing…

  • Phillip Dale Smith

    Are you tellin’ me that these people were physically forced to stop at this station, or are they,far more likely, just morons. And, how stupid are New Yorkers? You’ve got pinhead, corrupt, political hacks telling businesses what they can and cannot charge for their product. That’s a recipe for disaster.

  • Todd Clemmer

    Gouging……please. If you don’t like the price at the station you’re at, go to another one. Its that simple. If you find that the price is high everywhere you may want to pay closer attention to what is going on in the real world. You “gouging” theorists are morons.

  • dave

    are you glad you voted democratic now?

  • Pat S

    What really needs to be done is to take oil/gasoline off the stock market. People buy futures on spec for investment. This shouldn’t be allowed because it effects the cost. This is where the government could step in…not being gas police, but protecting the public from speculators

    • oil boiler for 32 years

      More specifically, take it off the New York Mercantile Exchange (the Merc). I completely agree. Take the speculators and hedge funds out of this, and prices stabilize and more closely approach true fundamental economics of the commodity.

      • TN Brushman

        Oil boiler, hasn’t anyone explained that there are two kinds of people in the world? There are people with 32 years of experience, and there are people with one year’s experience, and they just repeat it 32 times! Which are you?

        Before slamming “the speculators and hedge funds,” take a little time to educate yourself as to how they actually provide stability to the market which would not be there without them. IOW, they tend to dampen the volatility!

  • DonM

    Each driver has a function as gas police. When the prices are too high, they don’t buy gas, and that shuts down the transation.

    See, no government intervention is required. If you can hire the government to use guns to prevent people from buying gas, then the station owner can hire the government to use guns to force people to buy gas. Just like they plan to force you to buy health insurance.

  • DonM

    The government calculates the cost of a gallon of fuel when they provide it to their customers is 17$ per gallon, off loaded from their KC-135 fuel tankers. Of course it is convienent for their customers to have the fuel locations where they are.

  • Don M

    The Obama administration has a plan to return 3 dollar gas:

    Sell it by quarts.

    • bruce

      thats so funny

  • tonyL

    i am a gas station owner and most of the consumers have absolutely NO IDEA what it costs to run a gas station or how the pricing works with several taxes, freight, fees added to the retail prices. The same government that wishes to control the prices keeps jacking up COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES, other taxes and fees through the roof and sales taxes on the percentage of the sale of gasoline, new environmental regulations with new equipments, book keeping for records. Who do you think will pay for all that? Businesses are failing all over this nation and they are moving investments overseas due to lack of margin on profits. I am in support for government controlled with fix prices with markup with a decent return on investment. Because right now for the last few years we are loosing money on the gasoline sales.

    • Jason S.

      BS. If you are losing money on gasoline sales, stop selling gas. I’ve heard this before – gas station owners claiming that they lose money on gas sales. Must be the biggest bunch of horrible business people in existence. It really actually isn’t that hard to understand how gas prices work – you start with wholesale prices, which is $2.99 as I type this, then add in taxes, fees, freight and profit: and whala, you have a pump price. Now I get it, it’s a free market and you should be able to markup your gas to whatever you’d like… However, if you sign a contract obligating you to keep your prices consistent with your immediate competitors (legalized collusion or not), you have to abide by that contract. If that won’t or doesn’t work for you as a business person either A. don’t sign the contract and open up shop somewhere else, or B. close down shop. Otherwise, you’re going to hear about it when you violate the terms of your contract and the contract counter-party may help you out of business. But if the gas business isn’t working out for you, look for another opportunity – it’s a free market.

      • Todd Clemmer

        Jason, you are a moron. You haven’t a clue what you are spewing.

  • Mike Wheelen


    That’s how a free market works. Eventually they’ll have to lower the price or go out of business. It’s not gouging. Gouging would be charging an artificially high price for something in high demand, usually something that’s scarce. It oftentimes goes along with monopolistic conditions, like DeBeers and diamonds for example

    You assume a “free market”. In a “free market”, what happens when the ultra rich buy up all the gas contracts? Who “polices” the monopolies in a “free market”? I guess you logic says that if they over price simply don’t buy gas anywhere anytime. Hmmmmm.

  • Kevin

    You guys need to move to Delaware. I just paid $2.99/Gal for unleaded Regular in Newark DE off of I-95.

    • Sik

      Yeah, but if we move to Delaware, that would mean we’d have to move….to Delaware!

  • Big Mike

    To all of you who are whining about “price gouging” and asking daddy government to intervene…’s called the FREE MARKET! If you feel the price is too high, go somewhere else. No need for MORE government control!

    • oil boiler for 32 years

      Amen, brother!

  • Guido Sarducci

    Quit whining. This is the free market. Only the stupid or careless will buy from him, while everyone else will go to his competitors, thus driving him out of business or forcing him to lower prices. Gov’t has no business interfering, sweetheart deal from the city aside…

  • Steven Moshlak

    Dear Mr. Vaca-

    Thank King Obammy for not drilling in the Gulf and ANWR. When one runs a business, one has the cost of fuel, which is set by the refinery, the cost of labor and the cost of overhead, such as rent, utilities, taxes and so forth. Compound that with the some filing stations have garages, which offset the price of fuel (overhead factor) and you’ll find that he isn’t price gouging.

    Is there a shortage? No. Does someone have a loaded revolver to the person who is pumping gas? No. Let the drivers shop elsewhere.

    Take a look at prices in Los Angeles. They are in alignment.

  • Lou


    • meeester

      If you live in that area the chances are good that you are an Obama voter and by extension a friend of Chavez. You’ll pay $16 per gallon beofre I want to hear from you.

    • Big Mike

      Are you nuts??? We don’t need “Gas Police”….it’s called a FREE MARKET! There is absolutely nothing dishonest about a merchant deciding the price of the product he sells. If you don’t like what he’s charging, find another gas station.

      • meeester11

        Big Mike….shhhh.
        Think about it….if they get the station shut down…hehe…this is good.
        What happens then?
        For one thing; you and me- well we have a good laugh.

  • Rob Johnson

    I am confused? Citgo is owned by a socialist thug. New Yorkers keep electing socialist thugs so it only stands to reason new yorkers LOVE socialism. So now that they are getting exactly what they profess to love they are unhappy?


  • SamIam

    Let them gouge all they want. People don’t have to go there. See, that’s called COMPETITION. When their customers disappear they will lower them again. I doubt there are enough idiots like the one in the article who didn’t bother to look to keep them afloat.

  • nat

    If any one of you self righteous had the last gallon of gas in NYC, you would not sell it for $3 to some needy family, when people were offering Thousands. Hypocrites.

  • Michael Green

    Looks ok to me. The station owner signed a deal, of his own free will, and stipulated in the deal was that the price would match other stations in the area. He’s complying, or he isn’t. It appears that he isn’t. I don’t know.

    The free market arguments should all be in support of the station and the land owner establishing an agreement in good faith, and then the enforcement of the contract.

    • Steve Buttgereit

      The problem is that there can be no free market argument at all in this matter, only the free will of the station owner. The Park Department is not a land owner whose success or failure (ultimately) is dependent on making sustainable lease deals as is true for private land owners. Market forces therefore don’t determine the terms that the Park Department puts into the lease, other goals do. Now the , do a deal with the devil and don’t be surprised by the price; only the station owner feels true market pressures and his landlord is immune to them. Probably not a good deal for the station owner and the community should just accept that if that’s where the gas stations must go (on Park Dept. land) that they may have to ultimately do without the stations..

      • Bad Business sense

        If the rent that the city charges them is too high as the gas station owner said, it is his own fault. He is the one who agreed to the lease. He blames the price of his gas on the expensive rent but he knew what the rent was when he signed. Also doesn’t he realize that he loses lots of business by charging a price that is too high in relation to other stations nearby. If he kept his prices reasonable he would get a lot more customers. While he may make less per transaction, his overall profit would go up. Ignorant customers may not realize the price the first time they go there but he is not going to get repeat business.

  • nat

    No blood for oil. Gahdafi didnt attack the WTC. We have no business…..LOL

  • Kurt v

    There is no such thing as price gouging. You have a seller and a buyer in a voluntary transaction. If the buyer wishes not to pay the seller’s price, they have a choice to go elsewhere or do without. Period. Even if during a disaster, one is faced with economic laws that, left alone, are immutable. It is the elasticity of demand at work. Thsi is where the price rises to the point of equilibrium between supply and demand. Raising prices assures that supply is there for those who decide they need it or want it enough to part with their money. Once sold out, the owner of the station must pay a higher price for the supply to refill his station. It is all supply / demand. If someone charges too much, and there is other supply, then the customers will flee (with their capital) and will purchase elsewhere. The sales will drop at the high-priced stations and they will be forced (via competition) to lower their prices. This works where govnerment has NOT interfered.

    • Ranger01

      Wrong! Who is to stop them from raising the price to $10.00 /Gallon. Gasoline is a necessity, and we cannot live without it. Just like heat and electricity. Gasoline is as almost as necessary as Water. We cannot make a living without it. We cannot drive to work if we cannot afford the Gas. food prices are also gauged on transportation costs. Having Oil as a commodity is a bad idea because of the greed, collusion associate with price gouging.

      • Steve

        BTW, I love how people will say things like “Having Oil as a commodity is a bad idea because of the greed, collusion associate with price gouging.” Gasoline costs a little over $3 a gallon and people are complaining, less than any other substance sold per gallon aside from water. You can fill up your tank for 40-50 bucks. Here is a perfect example of why in a free market system works even in the case of “essential” commodities. You can theorize all you want about how oil companies could make us pay $100 a gallon if they wanted, but it doesn’t play out in reality.

  • Wade Lyle

    Another good reason why Mayor Bloomberg and his staff should worry more about what’s going on in NYC instead of other states such as Az.

    • CalBob

      And what hope is there in NYC, where they voted something like 29 to 1 to allow a Mosque to be built so close to ‘ground zero’? Haven’t any of them read anything about Islam? Sucking up to the ‘system’ is more important than protecting Americans from a forced religion. Sort of an oxymoron with a Jew paving the way for Islamic take-over, and allowing a Communist exclusivity on the parkway…nothing wrong in New York!!!

  • Tony

    Who is the real “gouger”: Citgo, who nobody is forced to patronize, or New York State, who forces residents to pay sky-high taxes?

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