Assemblywoman Jenne Co-Sponsors Legislation Preventing Gas Zone Pricing

April 24, 2018

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, announced that legislation (A.979). she co-sponsored to prohibit zone pricing of gasoline passed the Assembly

The bill aims to ensure fairness in pricing for motorists and prevent markups on gas based on location.

“While gas prices fluctuate due to a number of factors, no one should be forced to pay

extortionate amounts of money to fuel their vehicle simply because of where they live,” Assemblywoman Jenne said.

"This is critically important in areas like the North Country, where many of our residents need to travel long distances to reach their place of employment. "Five or 10 cent differentials in gas prices quickly add up to be a significant cost," she pointed out.

The rural nature of the North Country, she said, can make the situation even more difficult since there are limited options and frequently long distances between gas stations.

"This legislation stands up for customers and helps protect hard-earned money,” Assemblywoman Jenne said.

The assemblywoman, who has been a longtime proponent for the legislation, has continuously pushed to prevent zone pricing. This year’s bill would strengthen current law and allow the state Office of the Attorney General to more easily address price gouging.

Fred Thiele Jr., the bill's sponsor, said the bill was introduced following consultation with the Attorney General's Office.

"The bill outlaws pricing gasoline solely on the basis of geographic location of the retail station," Assemblyman Thiele said.

"The legislature passed a zone pricing law about 10 years ago, but the Attorney General's Office has never been able to enforce the bill as it is currently written. The Attorney General made a recommendation to the legislature with language to make it enforceable," he added.

The assemblyman said the new bill language defines geographic market as an area supplied by the same terminal. The legislation also allows retailers injured by zone pricing to bring actions against wholselsalers engaging in the practice.

"With gas prices back on the rise again, it is important to have this legislation in place to protect consumers in the North Country and around the state of New York," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

She said the bill does permit consideration of price differences based on actual costs, including labor and transportation expenses.

The assemblywoman noted regular gas prices on Tuesday ranged from $2.72 to $2.84 per gallon in Watertown, $2.86 to $2.95 per gallon in Ogdensburg and $2.83 to $2.86 per gallon in Massena and $2.87 to $2.89 per gallon in the Canton-Potsdam area, according to GasBuddy.com.

The website reported the average price for regular gasoline Tuesday was $2.88 per gallon in New York State.