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Mineola Gas Station Accused of Gouging After Sandy

Mineola Bicycle and Emory Road gas station accused of raising prices after hurricane.

Update: There is a discrepency in the advertisted price depicted in the attached photo of the gas pump and the digital readout on the pump.

Following the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Long Island and the ensuing gasoline rationing, long lines at the pump were a common sight depending on your day to fill up. What was undecidedly uncommon were the prices that some gas stations were charging, with reports of up to $5 per gallon, including reports of some businesses in Mineola.

During the Dec. 5 meeting of the Mineola Village Board at the village hall, Emory Road resident Bill Urianek reported that some residents he was aware of were searching for a generator in the days after the storm when power was still out. However, they also needed a gas can. According to Urianek, when the residents walked into Mineola Bicycle on Jericho Turnpike, they were charged $40 for a 5-gallon plastic gas can.

“I called them up later on and asked them how much they charged after everything was over and they still charged $34.50,” Urianek said. “But if you take $34 and $40 that’s almost 17 percent more than what they originally (charged). And they did this to people in our village and that to me is a total, total disgrace and I will never ever go into that business again. If you went to Home Depot or even Walmart, they were $17 and $18.”

When asked, Urianek admitted that he did not know if the $34 was the base price or had tax included in the final sale price.

A call to Mineola Bicycle on Monday confirmed that the business does sell “no spill” gas cans for $39.99.

He also displayed a photo he had taken the Saturday after the storm, showing $4.85 per gallon being charged for regular gas at the Pro-Trac station at the corner of Emory Road and Jericho Turnpike.

“The line was quite long and I think that’s another disgrace and that’s on my corner,” Urianek said, adding that he believes that the operator saw him take the photo since later that day the line was still present but the prices were changed.

“I guess because I took the picture of what was going on. And that gas was in that tank before the storm because they didn’t have any power.”

Urianek said he did not contact the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office but would be sending the photo to the office of Sen. Jack Martins. Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice has stated that her office would prosecute any reports of price gouging during or after the storm.

“There was one woman in particular, she thanked me for what I did,” Urianek said, noting he walked up the line of cars to inform drivers of the prices.

The gas station listed prices of $3.77, $3.99 and $4.09 for regular, mid-grade and high-grade fuel respectively on December 10.

A person who identified themselves as working out of the next-door service station and who helped the gas station owner pump gas in the days following the storm stated that the price for regular gas being charged during that time was $4.19 per gallon.

“I never support anyone who gouges at a time of need like that,” trustee Lawrence Werther said, cautioning that the auto repair department at the same address was a separate operation than the gas station.

“As far as the gas goes, you’re not seeing me there,” Urianek said of the gas station.

Complaints of price gouging can be made to the New York State Attorney General via the web or by phone by calling 800-771-7755 or logging on to the website to make a complaint.

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A Resident December 11, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Is it me? If you look at the gas pump, the sale is for $108.25 for 25.181 Gallons of gas which translates into $4.2988 per gallon or is my math wrong??
Cypher December 11, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Well no Duh! That gas station has been ripping off people for years. Every time someone goes in there for an inspection, they come out with problems needing urgent fixes. That the gas station just happens to be too glad to do for you.
Geoffrey Walter (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 07:47 PM
The following comment was posted on the Mineola Patch Facebook page by David P Redmond: "Supply and Demand, raising prices during an emergency could be gouging, but it could also reduce 4 hour gas lines and hoarding, so more people get what is really needed when there is unusual scarcity and delays in supply lines"
Geoffrey Walter (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 07:47 PM
The following comment was posted on the Mineola Patch Facebook page by Tom Watson: "the sign doesn't seem to make sense...it says regular for 4.89, plus for 4.49 and super for 4.59?"
A Resident December 11, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Probably photoshopped from 4:29 as the sale on the dial indicates
SLJ December 11, 2012 at 11:37 PM
It wasn't photoshopped. Nice excuse though
Phillip Davies December 12, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I'm not sure why the Patch is reporting on "Price Gouging" by Mineola Bike, when their price for a 5 gallon "No Spill" gas can before, during and after the storm were the same. I know this because I was in their store shopping for cans. That particular brand of can has an elaborate valve and because of that, it's expensive. If you do a search on Google Shopping for the "No-Spill" brand of 5 gallon gas cans, prices from different sellers range from $139 down to $34 for the same 5 gallon gas can and that's the Internet price. see: http://bit.ly/YXXeh3 .
A Resident December 12, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Slj, look at through picture and do the math....
Geoffrey Walter (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 03:32 AM
The following comment was posted on the Mineola Patch Facebook page by Barry Dworkin: "I work at Mineola Bicycle and I assure you that those No-Spill gas cans were always $39.99. We also normally sell a less expensive gas can called a Blitz can for $24.99 which we were unable to get during the week of the Hurricane. We usually try to give our customers a choice, but the less expensive cans sold out first."
kent penney December 12, 2012 at 08:34 AM
http://mises.org/daily/1593/Price-Gouging-Saves-Lives-in-a-Hurricane Does anyone remember free markets or has the behemoth nanny state already successfully turned u into their obedient serfs?
SLJ December 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM
So you're accusing the resident of photoshopping the picture and then going to a village meeting to accuse them of gouging??? Gee, I never thought of that. Maybe the guy took the picture behind the grassy knoll.
A Resident December 12, 2012 at 01:17 PM
SLJ, Just saying, do the the math on the pump screen and you will see the pump is putting out gas at $4.29 a gallon. I would think that if he was gouging he would have changed the pumps to match the price listed. Maybe the owner isn't that smart, idk.
Captain Twinky December 12, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Yea I think they are way over priced anyway they charged me $30 for a cheap piece for my bicycle and it broke the next day and charged me again $70 for a different piece all in the same area I feel ripped off too!
Captain Twinky December 12, 2012 at 01:28 PM
These pieces can be bought cheaper mayor Strauss can you please investagate
John December 12, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I got gas on that day and I remember I had 5 gallon gas tank and It took $20 worth regular gas.That equals 4.65 gallons at $4.299 a gallon. So I have been getting my gas from there for years and my 5 cars serviced there for years. I dont personaly know the owner for gas but I know the owner for the repair shop. They are very honest and hard working people.
Geoffrey Walter (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 03:54 PM
The following comment was posted on the Mineola Patch Facebook page by Susan Briggs-Tubito: "I read with disgust about the "supposed" price gouging of gas cans at Mineola Bicycle. Exactly how much research went into Mr. Urbaniaks comments? He compares a Walmart gas can to one sold by Mineola Bicycle. Are they manufactured by the same company?...are the features the same? Did he bother to do research as to other businesses in the area as to what they were charging? Did he call after the storm to see what the price of said can was before making these comments? To say something like this and put into print is disgraceful. As a long time customer of Mineola Bicycle I will continue to be a patron."
Mike December 12, 2012 at 06:00 PM
this is Mike, the owner of olympos auto service. your math is 100% correct. I just want to thank you sooo much for having my back on this ridicilous article that was written by mineola patch accusing the gas station of price gouging. The prices that where displayed on the top of the pumps are magnetic and the number that was stuck on the dispaly probably fell off or someone took it off on purpose for a picture to be taken. if u look at the digital display on the pumps it clearly states that they were charging 4.29 a gallon. thank u once again for picking up on that. and on another note, olympos auto repair shop has nothing to do with the gas pumps. people just like to bury people for no reason. the editor should have done his homework before he posted an article like that where it affects peoples reputations and business.. once again, THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!!!
A Resident December 12, 2012 at 06:22 PM
No problem Mike, I actually buy my gas there all the time. The Patch is usually pretty good, it's Newsday you have to watch out for! There are people out there always trying to get in the news, etc and will go to all extremes to complain. It's very unfortunate.
Mike December 12, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Hey Cypher,this is Mike,the owner of Olympos Auto.I see u were prob at my repair shop at 1 point and it sounds n looks like u might have had a bad experience here.An experience that didnt meet ur expectations.I'm sorry u feel like this,but if there was or is a problem with your vehicle or with Olympos Auto,u r more than welcome 2 come by the shop or call me at 516 739-1133 so we can talk and rectify the problem that you have with us.I am surprised 2 see that u r accusing me of ripping you off or doing work that is not needed on ur vehicle for a new york state inspection.My job here is 2 tell you what ur vehicle needs,and its up 2 you if you want 2 do the repairs with us or at another repair shop.U always have the option 2 go for a second opinion.if u go on surecritic.com,u will see about 105 reviews that are all 5 star reviews,which highly recomeend us 2 other customers, were these are reviews from our real live customers that have been here.These reviews were posted either thru email or phone calls that have actually repaired there vehicles with us,serviced or inspected.We have been in Mineola for the past 20 yrs and we do run an honest business,where our customers are our #1 priority where we use the best parts available in quality and we stand behind our work either with a lifetime warranty on parts or a 1 year/12,000 mile warranty on parts and labor.Please call me or come by Olympos Auto so we can talk 2 fix this problem with an upset customer.Thank you so much, Mikey
Thomas Winters December 12, 2012 at 07:01 PM
This is place is legit. They were doing the best they could to help people in a time of need. This is the type of nonsense that hurts good people. Everyone at that station is top notch. And DO NOT penalize the repair shop that is unaffilated with the gas station and has been a town fixture for over twenty years.
SLJ December 12, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Someone needs to tell Susan Briggs-Tubito that if she bothered to watch the meeting or read the patch, she would know that the gentleman in fact did say he called around and gas cans were going for $17 and $18. Now maybe they're not the same as the no-spill type. That was not brought up at the meeting. And he did call after the storm. I'm not sure what this woman read or watched. Maybe she should go to a meeting. Her being a long term customer is a non-issue in the discussion.
Susan Briggs Tubito December 12, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Maybe you're right maybe I should have been at the meeting to put a stop to this before being put into print. The fact of the matter is that a business was wrongfully accused of price gouging. You can't price gouge on something that was the price before during and after as has already been stated in previous comments. Did he bother to find out product information before placing calls about "gas cans"? There are in fact different sizes, manufacturers and features of cans that yes make a difference in the price of these cans. But you bring up price gouging without your proper information. With these facts it would have put an end to this before it had a chance to begin. The fact of the matter was the reputation of a long standing business in our community was put on the line. The fact of the matter was that Mr. Urbaniak stated that he would never enter the business again....without knowing his facts. That is in fact wrong. You don't bring up unsubtanstiated material before a board with anything more than your opinion and lack of facts. And yes it does make a difference in the conversation that I have been and will continue to be a patron of Mineola Bicycle. In this day and age of the "big box" store I can appreciate a small business that has been in our community for decades and that honestly serves our community and that is what I want the residents of Mineola to know SLJ.
A Resident December 13, 2012 at 12:37 AM
SLJ obviously doesn't know the facts nor can he do math as is proved my his irresponsible comments about the gas station. The Patch is much more reputable than Newsday(someone deleted my post about this earlier) but they should have looked into this further before posting it. I am not a fan of Mineola Bicycle and am not a customer due to their outrageous prices. I'd rather drive to other stores than pay so much more but that doesn't warrant people accusing them of gouging when in fact they always charge that price.
SLJ December 13, 2012 at 02:36 PM
A Resident--Feel free to show where I made any irresponsible comments about the gas station. WHAT I did say was the sign was in no way photo-shopped. YOU were accusing this guy of creating a picture, when he did not. I think the irresponsible comment came from you. As to looking into it further, that probably should have been done. However, if you are driving by ANY gas station and see a sign with that price, how would anyone NOT know that that WASN'T the price of the gas??
Mike December 13, 2012 at 05:45 PM
SLJ----Hey slj, how r u? This is Mike from Olympos Auto. Its ok... Went down to the mineola hall meeting last night and I explained what happened with the price sign. When the metal price signs are manufactured they are made magnetic and have 1.88 preprinted on them. The prices we put on the signs when we selling the gas are magnetic strips with numbers. Either one of them fell off due to the weather ( #2 which was supposed to cover the # 8) or someone took it off on purpose (maybe a competitor) so a picture could be taken. U r 100 % correct. If it shows 4.89, instead of 4.29, people are goin to think that the gas was being sold for 4.89. It was so busy those days that we did not notice. But the reality is that it was being sold for 4.29 a gallon and the editor should have done his homework regardless of what was said at the meeting before he printed this article and disgraced mu business. Im glad I was able to let the village of mineola know exactly what happened and it was not price gouging, and hopefully that can also spread out to the mineola residents and all of our customers....

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