New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.’s most recent gasoline survey for the South Fork shows that gasoline prices have decreased from about $3.01 in August to $2.81 cents, or 20 cents. Gas prices on the South Fork are higher than the rest of Long Island by 25 cents, where prices decreased by 17 cents since August. South Fork prices are also 25 cents higher than the State average. Currently, crude oil prices are $45 per barrel.
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) provides for a regional survey on New York State gasoline prices. However, there is no survey solely for the South Fork. Thiele’s survey also includes prices in western Southampton along Montauk Highway. There may be prices that are higher or lower in the region away from Montauk Highway, but the survey reflects the price posted at most stations on the region’s main arterials.
“The average price for East Hampton and Southampton along Montauk Highway excluding Amagansett and Montauk is now $2.81,” Thiele said. “The average price for Amagansett and Montauk is $3.19. A gallon of gas on the North Fork is now about $2.35. The Long Island average is $2.56 and the state average is $2.56.”
Thiele added, “There is no clearer example of price-fixing than what it is currently happening with gas prices on the South Fork. Oil prices have declined. Gas prices are declining all around us, but here on the South Fork prices are still 25 cents higher on average than the rest of Long Island.”
Thiele called upon the State Senate to pass his legislation that would prohibit zone pricing. The legislation would enact the recommendations of the state attorney general to outlaw the practice of zone pricing of gasoline. The bill has been supported by local gasoline retailers and opposed by the major oil companies. The bill passed the State Assembly by a 135–13 margin in June but continues to languish in the State Senate.
“There is no other conclusion to reach other than the fact that prices have been fixed at a higher level on the South Fork,” Thiele said. “This is unfair and should be illegal. The local residents of a region should not have to endure artificially high gas prices just so that Big Oil companies can soak summer visitors.”