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Smithtown Mobil Boosts Credit Price Gap to $2

Though cash price offered at a discount.

A Smithtown Mobil station that sparked regional to use their credit cards rather than cash has pushed the gap even higher.

As of Thursday, the Mobil at 819 West Jericho Turnpike was charging an extra $2 per gallon, making the credit price $5.59 a gallon.

The cash price, at $3.59 a gallon, is significantly lower than the area average, where most local gas stations are charging between $4.05 and $4.11. And it's that discount that had customers lining up Thursday morning.

"I saw the price and did a U-turn," said Smithtown resident Cesar Garcia, who added he was shocked when he pulled in and saw the price for credit.

"I'm paying cash, " he said, "but I was just updating Gas Buddy with the credit price. This is crazy."

In fact, every person Patch spoke to Thursday morning was paying with cash.

A clerk at the store who asked not to be identified said the manager would not be in until later, but added that he was just doing what he was told.

"We get a call from the head office to make the price and I change the sign," he said.

The owner of the Smithtown Mobil could not be reached for comment on Thursday morning. His manager said he would be out of town at an industry convention until May 1. 

The Smithtown Mobil was not the only station with the newly boosted price gap Thursday. Locals on social media were posting photos of the Gulf Station at 1395 Veterans Highway in Islandia and the Citgo Station at 3200 Veterans Highway in Bohemia, each with the exact $3.59/$5.59 price disparity.

In an interview last month, Michael Watt, the executive director of the Long Island Gas Retailers Association, , though he decried huge pricing gaps as being counter productive.

“It’s illegal to charge for the use of a credit card, but it's perfectly legal to offer a cash discount,” Watt said.

But state Sen. Kenneth LaValle saw the outrage as a need for new legislation and said he .

“The law as written forbids charging consumers a surcharge for the use of their credit card,” LaValle said. “Because the statute is unclear, retailers have been charging higher prices for credit card use but maintaining that the cash price represents a discount,” he said in March.

Drew Biondo, spokesman for the senator, said LaValle introduced that bill on March 15.

Essentially, it all boils down to buyers beware, said another customer in Smithtown on Thursday.

"If people are silly enough to pay that price, that's their fault," he said.

Stay tuned for updates.

John Gruber April 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM
once again, the president has little to nothing to do with the price of gas. Start complaining to the UAE countries that rip us off since they know they can make so much money. The president DOESN'T change the price of gas with the flick of the wrist
John Gruber April 22, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Capitalism. They have the freedom to charge what they want and we can pay how we want. It sucks but you'd have to change the entire system. It's different with gasoline because of the absurd dependency we have on it
JH April 22, 2012 at 11:00 PM
John you are absolutely right, and there are plenty of 'fair' stations out there if you prefer to pay with credit
JH April 22, 2012 at 11:14 PM
The president can't wave a magic wand and lower the gas prices... but he can, and does have the ability to not block a pipeline coming from Canada... as he did. He's well aware of the strain on the little guy... but isn't interested in trying to ease that. and how about the fact that our dear president is allowing refined gasoline to leave our country to be EXPORTED! He could stop that .... but doesn't. Most people are totally unaware of the fact that we even do this! Unfortunately, our 'government' isn't really watching out for... nor do they seem to care about the prices rising at the pump. Actions speak far louder than words.... and Mr. Obama is full of words with regard to this ... but very little positive action! My guess is that when it gets closer to election time and gas prices are even more off the wall, he will suddenly do something to help relieve the pain... so once again people will be blind sighted and vote for him!
Lauri April 24, 2012 at 07:36 PM
What does that say in the advertisement above the prices? SAVE $.15/gallon if you use your Mobile card. That’s pretty funny! Save $.15/gallon and than we will penalize you by robbing your wallet of $2.00/gallon immediately for using your card - but wait there’s more - if you don’t pay your bill in 30 days we'll take another 20-30% in interest fees too!!! YEAH – real big savings there!

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