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.