Tag Archives: prices

3 Queens gas stations accused of price gouging

| brennison@queenscourier.com

gas 1

As lines grew at gas stations throughout Queens, prices at the pump swelled as well, prompting an investigation into gouging.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the first series of actions in what his office called “a wide-ranging investigation” into post-Sandy price gouging at gas stations throughout New York. The attorney general plans to begin enforcement proceedings against the 13 New York gas stations, while investigating hundreds of others.

“Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging and we are taking action to send a message that ripping off New Yorkers is against the law,” said Schneiderman.

Three of the targeted gas stations are in Queens:

• The Mobil station at 40-40 Crescent Street in Long Island City, which according to consumer complaints charged customers $4.89.

• The Shell at 71-08 Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, where customer complaints said drivers were charged $5.50.

• The Delta station at 13-09 14th Avenue in College Point, which charged $5, according to consumer complaints.

According to the state’s business laws, merchants are prohibited from taking advantage of consumers during an “abnormal disruption of the market” by hiking prices to an “unconscionably excessive price.”

While “unconscionably excessive price” is not specifically defined, the attorney general’s office said a before and after analysis of prices can be used as evidence.

Gas prices jumped 15 cents in the two weeks after Superstorm Sandy, even as gas prices nationwide fell.

“These 13 retailers stand out from others in the high prices they have charged and in the size of their price increases,” Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman said that the L.I.C. Mobil station had a posted price of $3.89, but after waiting on a three-block line, the consumer found the price at the pump to be a dollar higher. The station would not comment on the investigation.

A worker at the Delta station said they were forced to up prices after the cost of the gas they were buying also rose.

After Sandy, the station was paying $3.89 per gallon, a 48 cent jump from before the storm, according to receipts.

Six employees, up from one, were also working around the clock at the full-service station to keep up with the demand, which pushed prices higher, said the employee, John, who did not want to give his last name.

“What were we going to do, take the money out of our pocket? No, you put it in the price,” said John, who also said that the station’s prices never went above $4.50.

If gas stations can justify why their costs went up, they will not be charged, said the attorney general’s office.

Penalties for price gouging includes fines, which are calculated based on how much illegal profits were made, according to the attorney general’s office.

Councilmember Peter Vallone does not think the punishment goes far enough.

“Clearly, the penalties that exist are insufficient to protect the public in times of crisis,” Vallone said. “These gas stations in particular apparently see fines as the cost of doing business. Anyone who would try to profit from another person’s pain during an emergency deserves to face jail time.”

Gas prices at two month low

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Prices at the pump continue to roll back, reaching their lowest price in more than two months.

Gas prices in New York City fell to $4.09, five cents lower than a week ago, with many stations around Queens coming in under $4 per gallon.

This is the cheapest gas has been since the beginning of March, two weeks after gas surpassed the $4 mark. Over the past month, prices havedropped more than 15 cents.

One year ago, prices were more than 20 cents above the current rate.

Nationally, the average cost for a gallon of gas is $3.73, 17 cents lower than last month.


Knife terror aboard N train

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Knife terror aboard N train

A crazed subway panhandler pulled a knife and threatened a straphanger on a crowded train yesterday before being subdued by a good Samaritan and held until cops arrived, authorities and witnesses said. The 35-year-old woman boarded the Manhattan-bound N train at around 6:40 p.m. at Queensboro Plaza and began asking for money. Another woman, 52, began mocking her, unleashing the vagrant’s anger. Read More: New York Post


‘Witness-tamper’ hit vs. Espada

The feds claim former New York Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. coached a woman to lie before a federal grand jury investigating corruption allegations against him, The Post has learned. Although witness tampering is a crime, Brooklyn federal prosecutors are not charging Espada with new counts stemming from the incident — but they want the jury in his upcoming corruption trial to hear about the alleged misconduct. Read More: New York Post


Soaring Gas Prices Fuel Concerns Among City Drivers

Drivers in the city and across the nation are being hit with record high prices at the pump. Gas prices are the highest ever for this time of year and experts say they will only continue to rise. The national average for a gallon of regular hit $3.57 cents, up more than a quarter since January 1. Prices in New York are even higher. The current average in the city is $3.96, up 15 percent from a year ago. Read More: NY1


Dolan’s mother meets Pope Benedict

Capping a whirlwind nine-day trip with a final visit to the Vatican, Timothy Cardinal Dolan introduced his 84-year-old mom to Pope Benedict XVI yesterday — then jokingly asked the pontiff if he could make her “the first lady of the College of Cardinals.” Amid cheers and applause, Dolan walked his mom, Shirley, up to the stage to greet his boss during a papal audience before an enthusiastic crowd inside the Paul VI Hall. “Holy Father, here is my mom!” Dolan said he told the pope. Read More: New York Post


Rivera’s early arrival could signal end of Yankees career

The chair was occupied, and — in its own way — that was perhaps the first clue it would not be for much longer. When the clubhouse door opened to the media early yesterday morning, there was Mariano Rivera sitting at his locker. On the surface, so what? But there are Mo Rules in spring, and one is that he will not report on time. No one around the Yankees cares. He is Mariano Rivera, and his history is he shows up in great shape, pinpointing pitches and needing six to eight innings in all to be ready for Opening Day. Read More: New York Post

JetBlue sign ordeal

JetBlue wants to light up the New York skyline with its iconic blue logo — but it must first clear layers of city red tape before taking off. The airline, which will move its corporate headquarters to Long Island City next month, plans to erect a 40-foot lighted sign on the rooftop of its new building at 27-01 Queens Plaza North. “When complete, it will be easily seen from the east side of Manhattan across the river,” JetBlue said. But JetBlue’s proposal must be reviewed and approved by two community boards, the borough president, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and mayor. Read More: New York Post