New Law to Increase Availability of Alternative Fuels

July 31, 2006

Governor Pataki has given approval to a new law that better ensures the availability to consumers of alternative motor fuels, such as those blended with ethanol, like E85; methyl-ester, commonly referred to as "bio-diesel;" compressed natural gas, or CNG; and hydrogen.

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger who sponsored the bill in the Assembly said, “With the increase in gas prices over the last year, many consumers are increasingly looking for less costly and more environmentally sound ways to fuel their vehicles. This new law will allow retail service stations to have more flexibility in obtaining alternative fuels, providing motorists with a greater array of choices at the pump.”

The new law will prohibit any provision of a motor fuel franchise agreement which bars a franchisee dealer from purchasing alternative motor fuel from a person or firm other than the distributor, or limits the quantity of such alternative fuel to be purchased, if the distributor does not supply or offer to supply that alternative fuel to the dealer. The new law would also subject a distributor who violates this law to a penalty of $1,000.

“To limit the ability of a franchisee to obtain alternative fuels is to limit the ability of consumers who wish to use such fuels from obtaining them and keeps us evermore dependent on foreign oil,” said Schimminger.

The new law, which takes effect immediately and applies to all prospective franchise agreements, was sponsored in the State Senate by Senator Charles Fuschillo.