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Suffolk bill seeks more visible gas station credit card prices

Gas prices at a Gulf Station in Brentwood

Gas prices at a Gulf Station in Brentwood on July 31, 2013. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

A proposed Suffolk County law would require gas stations to post the credit and debit card price per gallon on the roadside instead of just the cheaper cash price.

Under the law, the higher price per gallon would have to be displayed "at least as prominently as any discounted price offered."

The bill's sponsors said it would provide better information to drivers who mostly pay with plastic and might discourage retailers from charging an excessive difference depending on the payment method.

"People shouldn't be lured into a gas station, thinking it's one price, only to be charged another," said Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk). The difference between paying cash for gas versus credit can be as high as $1 per gallon at some Long Island gas stations.

The law would not apply to gas stations that charge the same for all payment types.

Gas station owners say most charge only a few cents more per gallon for plastic purchases.

"There's no need for this and once again it's turning out Suffolk County is so anti-business lately," said Kevin Beyer, president of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association.

He said the cash roadside prices are like any other business trying get customers. "It's trying to draw you in, like saying you're selling the cheapest Nike at $29," he said. "No one is trying to deceive anybody."

Beyer, who owns a Smithtown gas station and convenience store, said regulations like these are "why businesses are leaving Long Island."

Schneiderman shot back: "What's leaving are young people who can't afford to live here because they're getting nickled and dimed."

Schneiderman, who co-owns a Montauk hotel, sponsored a stalled bill earlier this year that would have required some pumps to warn of higher prices.

Beyer said many towns restrict sign sizes, so this bill would force gas stations to use smaller type or get another sign.

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