City accuses two gas stations of overcharging

March 2, 2011 2:49:45 PM PST
Two New York City gas stations charging exceptionally high prices are now face potential trouble from the city.

The stations are located on park land and the city has gone after them before for overcharging, but the stations say they have no choice.

Eyewitness News is learning this is not the first time the company that leases this gas station has been cited for higher prices.

Now that prices are over $4, the city is investigating again.

At $4.09 for regular and premium topping out at $4.29, the CITGO station and its sister across the Hutchinson River Parkway in the Bronx are one of the first to startle drivers with the higher prices.

"How is your heart at this point," asked Eyewitness News reporter Tim Fleischer.

"It just took an extra beat. I have not seen $4 anywhere," said Jim Brody, a driver.

Eyewitness News first told you about the increases last week.

But now, the company that leases just the gas operation from the city's parks department is being investigated again, officials say, for prices higher than stations in a five mile radius.

"This gasoline station has a history of charging 40 to 50 cents above what is charged one and two blocks away," said New York City Councilman James Vacca.

Councilman James Vacca fielded complaints about the station's prices last year.

At the time, in this letter, parks officials cited: Super Value, Inc. in Spring Valley with having prices that were 99 to 83-cents higher than surrounding stations.

The lease agreement with the city, it says, requires you to "Supply at least two grades of automotive gasoline, of the standard quality and price as prevail at other service stations" in the area.

"This is not acceptable to the people here in the Bronx who are already paying high gas prices, this is just egregious," Vacca said.

The company was asked to bring down prices and they complied.

This time company officials tell Eyewitness News, "If you take the cost of rent at 21.5 cents per gallon alone we're already non-competitive."

Add in other costs and services not offered they go on to say, "It is impossible for us to meet that requirement without going bankrupt."