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Kaplowitz Proposes to Stop 'Deceptive' Gas Signs

County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz and Ron Guarino
County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz and Ron Guarino Photo Credit: Jennifer Swift

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Drivers who are frustrated over the contradiction between the price they pay at the pump and the advertised gas price, may get some relief if a county law passes in Westchester. The law, proposed by County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz (D – Somers), would fine gas stations that falsely advertise gas prices.

Kaplowitz proposed the local law Thursday in Yorktown. He said many gas stations in the surrounding area advertise one price but when a driver approaches the pump, they may find that the advertised price is only for cash payments, and the price for credit is more expensive.

Kaplowitz said he just wants to have the right prices advertised, even if it means putting two prices on the sign. “This is an easy, elegant solution, and I’ve gotten more calls on this issue than almost any other issue because buying gas is such a critical part of everybody’s day, and it takes such a bite of people’s disposable income,” he said.

The legislator said that enforcing such a law would “put money literally back in people’s pockets” and that it would be a means to "be consistent and not deceptive." He added that this practice could potentially cause prices to fall, due to competition.

The prospective law, if adopted by the board of legislators, would charge a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for each day the violation takes place, he explained. He stressed that the cost to have the law is very minimal and would only cause the gas stations to purchase a new sign. Kaplowitz said it would benefit the consumer 100 percent, as he believes it would better inform customers.

Ron Guarino, who owns Citgo/Autobahn in Yorktown, where the press conference was held, said he agreed the law was necessary.

“This is something that really annoys me as a consumer, when I see a price posted that’s what I expect to pay,” Guarino said, adding that he only has one price for cash and credit at his station. “That’s all they need to do, is just put a sign up so that people can actually see what it costs when they’re driving, we have to inform the customers.”

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