HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A New York state lawmaker is taking action against the growing gap between cash and credit card prices for gas with new legislation he says is aimed at protecting consumers.
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Many gas stations charge a little more for credit card purchases, but some stations on Long Island have a differential of up to $2 a gallon.
The price differences have grown so much, the Suffolk County Division of Weights and Measures said they have received numerous complaints from drivers.
According to officials, however, the practice is perfectly legal.
“We can’t do anything with regards to the extra charging of $2 or more with a credit card,” said Clifford Coleman, director of Suffolk County’s Division of Weights and Measures. “It’s not illegal.”
But now, New York State Sen. Lee Zeldin is calling out gas stations that have cash-credit differentials of more than $1.
He introduced plans for a new law that would require stations to post both the cash and credit prices prominently on signs that are visible from the road when the price for credit is seven percent more than the cash price.
“Unfortunately, state law allows stations to deceptively post only the lower amount on the street level sign,” Zeldin said. ”I am working to help reform that law.”
Some retailers say the credit card differentials are justified since credit card companies charge gas stations a fee for each transaction, but that fee usually only amounts to 5 to 10 cents.
“A lot of consumers don’t know it’s happening to them until after they pull into the gas station, pull in front of the pump, get out of the car and take their credit card out their wallet and realize these gas stations have tricked them into getting them to pay $1 or up to $2,” Zeldin said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Department says prices at the pump have gone down about six cents nationwide in the past two weeks.
The national average for gas is now at $3.88 a gallon, but for the Tri-state area, prices have only dropped about a penny.
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