Wednesday, April 23, 2014

News
Brindisi sponsors legislation to combat high gas prices
By NEWSChannel 2 Staff


Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi says residents in the Mohawk Valley are paying the third-highest average gas prices in the state.

In response, he says he is sponsoring legislation to curb unfair gas pricing in the Mohawk Valley Region.

"It is wrong that gas prices in our area are the third highest in New York behind only New York City and Long Island," Assemblymember Brindisi said. "Hardworking Mohawk Valley families can no longer afford to pay the highest gas prices in upstate New York. This legislation aims to put an end to unfair gas pricing based on geographic location."

A recent study from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office identified flaws in the state's zone pricing law and proposed changes that would potentially end fluctuations in Mohawk Valley gas prices. Zone pricing occurs when gasoline retailers set the price of gasoline based on factors that don't reflect the actual costs of vending and transporting their product - such as the number of competing local stations or the traffic at a specific location.

The ambiguous definition of "relevant geographic market" in the existing law has made it difficult to identify violations of zone pricing. Assemblymember Brindisi's legislation would clarify the definition of "relevant geographic market," and end the arbitrary price differences that have forced Mohawk Valley families to overpay at the pump, the Assemblymember noted.

Assemblymember Brindisi recently wrote a letter to the state attorney general requesting an explanation of the high local fuel prices. The letter also called for an investigation into whether or not price gouging has occurred in the Utica/Rome area.

This legislation is necessary to strengthen the zone pricing law by correcting several flaws which currently preclude effective enforcement by the New York State Attorney General, Brindisi said.

New York State has set up a hotline and created an online form for the reporting of sudden and unexpected increases in gas prices. Consumers may call 1-800-214-4372 or visit www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection/form/GasComplaintForm.asp to fill out the Division of Consumer Protection's gasoline price complaint form.