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.