Tag Archive | "gas"

Harbor Heights Sales Have “Broken Records” In Lead-Up To Storm

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Harbor Heights adjusted

That was what Harbor Heights gas station owner John Leonard declared yesterday, August 26 as a steady stream of about a dozen cars flowed through the station.  Thousands of East End residents have flocked to gas stations in the last couple days, filling up tanks as a recommended precaution in the lead-up to Hurricane Irene, which is expected to hit Long Island full-force tomorrow, Sunday

The station has been so busy, in fact, Leonard said on Friday “I’ve been working here for the past two days non-stop!

He added that the station received a new truckload of 1,9200 gallons of fuel today, Saturday, and has already scheduled another 1,9200-load to replenish the station’s stock on Monday, after the storm is expected to have left the East End.  While the Getty station on the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike ran out of fuel late Thursday afternoon, Leonard said his station was ready for the barrage of vehicles that has remained a constant at his station.

“We were prepared,” he said.  Have been through several hurricanes himself in Florida, Leonard anticipated the gas-pump rush.  “I had my orders in on Tuesday for the week.”

The tail end of the week saw multi-car lineups at gas stations in both East Hampton and Southampton Towns, subjecting some drivers to 20-minute waits to get to the pump, and prompting others into verbal altercations with other drivers.

Leanoard said, as of Friday, there have been no known altercations at his gas station.  Though he did say one young man nearly stirred up a bit of trouble Friday morning when he tried to jump the line; however, the situation was abated before the gloves came off.

Getty Out of Gas Yesterday, Back in Action Now

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Out of Gas

The Getty Station on the Sag Harbor Turnpike ran out of gas yesterday afternoon. They expect another shipment today, Friday, August 26.

Altschuler Will Vie for Bishop’s Seat in 2012

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By Kathryn G. Menu

St. James businessman Randy Altschuler has decided to seek a rematch against Democratic incumbent congressman Tim Bishop in 2012. Altschuler lost his congressional bid against Bishop last year in one of the closest election races in the country.

Altschuler, who was the Republican and Conservative Party candidate in the 2010 congressional race, announced his candidacy in a press release and via his Facebook page on May 25. The announcement came shortly after he withdrew his name from the list of Republican hopefuls vying for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s seat this fall.

“After serious consideration, I have decided to run once again for Congress in the 1st District,” stated Altschuler. “With the help of all of my loyal supporters and the taxpayers of Eastern Suffolk County, I am certain we will be successful in unseating Tim Bishop in 2012 and starting down a path towards job creation, lower taxes and a robust economy.”

Last time, after battling his way through a three-way Republican primary, Altschuler narrowly lost his bid for Congress, with Bishop earning just 593 votes more than Altschuler. The race stretched weeks past election day and was ultimately decided by a significant number of absentee ballots that swung in Bishop’s favor.

Bishop, a five-term Democrat, will be seeking his sixth term.

While Altschuler appears to have Republican and Conservative parties support, both issued statements this week praising the candidate’s business experience, he will face at least one contender on his way to representing the Republican Party on the ballot. Ronkonkoma attorney George Demos has also thrown his hat in the ring to run for Congress in 2012. He came in second in the three-way Republican primary in 2010.

Schneiderman Will Face Kelly

This fall, four term Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman will face off against title agency owner Cornelius Kelly, a resident of Southampton Town, after the Republican Party announced Kelly as its candidate for the second district seat last week.

A native and resident of Montauk, Schneiderman served on the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals from 1991 to 1999, the last three years as board chair. He left a career in education to seek office as East Hampton Town Supervisor in 1999 and served two terms there.

Schneiderman was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature in 2003 and in his last election, in 2009, won 100 percent of the vote after being cross endorsed by all parties. A former Republican, Schneiderman is now a member of the Independence Party, but will run on the Democratic Party line as well this fall.

Kelly, who is 39, is also a native of the East End having been born and raised in Westhampton Beach. He now resides in Southampton Town.

A former bond analyst, in 2005 Kelly founded Liberty Property Services, Inc., a title insurance company which he currently runs.

“I believe in a strong, efficient, limited government,” said Kelly in a press release issued after his nomination. “As a small business owner I know first hand the fastest way to promote job growth is low taxes.”

In other county election news, last week the Republican Party nominated Suffolk County Treasurer Angie Carpenter to run for county executive. She will face Democratic hopeful, Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone.

Charges of Price Gouging

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. fired off a press release this week charging that major gasoline suppliers and wholesalers price gouged South Fork residents over the Memorial Day holiday weekend in a direct violation of the state’s prohibition on zone pricing for gasoline.

According to Thiele’s office, a month ago the American Automobile Associate stated the average price of regular gasoline at $4.135. Today, it is about $4.028. Thiele noted that in every major market in New York, gas prices have declined from $0.07 to $0.15 in the past month, a trend reflective of the fact that oil prices have dropped, now stabilizing around $100 a barrel.

This week, Thiele said that while prices have dropped across Nassau and Suffolk counties, on the South Fork “gasoline prices have seemed frozen in time for the last month,” averaging around $4.25.

“It is obvious that when it came to gasoline prices in one of the most popular vacation communities in America, ‘Big Oil’ has chosen to not only ignore the zone pricing law but also repeal the law of supply and demand,” he said.

“In response to the decline in oil prices, retail gasoline prices have declined across the state and nation, except on the South Fork. Prices haven’t moved in a month,” continued Thiele who added, “It is clear that prices were kept artificially high to exploit the big holiday weekend.”

Thiele intends to contact the New York State Attorney General to investigate the matter and will pursue stronger zone pricing legislation through the State Legislature.

Passenger Ferry Discussion

On Friday, June 3 at 4:30 p.m. the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee to the Town of Southampton will host local transportation expert Hank de Cillia, who will discuss a proposed passenger ferry route that aims to use Sag Harbor as one of its hub ports.

In a letter to the editor earlier this month, de Cillia argued that traffic and parking are already issues within the Village of Sag Harbor and that the ferry could alleviate some of those issues while supporting the village’s rich maritime history and culture.

Jim Ryan’s firm Response Marina has proposed the Peconic Bay Passenger Shuttle Service, a year round service between the North and South Forks. According to a proposal submitted to the village in February, a dedicated passenger ferry route and schedule would connect Greenport to Sag Harbor, branching out later to connect to Southampton and Riverhead.

The shuttle would be a year-round, seven day a week service. The company plans to use a 40-person passenger shuttle, but said it would increase to three shuttles if demand was there.

According to the proposal, the ferry would be scheduled to arrive at transportation hubs like Riverhead in time for passengers to connect to the Suffolk County bus line, which could bring them further west or connect them to the Long Island Rail Road.

Under village code, a passenger ferry service on private property is against code and would require a variance. Ryan has said he would instead seek a public, village-owned dock space to run the operation.

Sag Harbor Village Trustees have not ruled out the possibility of the ferry shuttle service, but have continually noted it is against village code as of now.

Fighting Gas Pricing Scam

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This coming Monday, November 24, the jig is up in New York State on zone pricing of gasoline—a scam that has especially impacted motorists on the East End.

Zone pricing is a marketing practice of the oil industry under which gas stations in various geographic areas are charged different wholesale prices. The oil industry figures that in certain zones, people have a lot of money—so it can hit them with gas at a higher price.

Although the new law is to take effect in days, the industry was sticking with its old trick last week. On Friday, driving past Medford, then through Riverhead and then Flanders, gas was $2.29 to $2.35 a gallon. But then, when I got to Shinnecock Hills, the cheapest was $2.69 a gallon.

The oil industry line through the years about prices on the East End was that they simply reflected the additional transportation costs of trucking gas east.

Typical oil industry baloney. The last $2.29-a-gallon station I passed in Flanders was 8.5 miles from the first $2.69-a-gallon station in Shinnecock Hills. Does 8.5 miles justify a 15 percent price differential?

Up in Connecticut a decade ago, the state’s Office of Legislative Research conducted an investigation into zone pricing of gas and got an oil industry admission that there were “46 such zones in Connecticut.” Repeatedly introduced in Connecticut has been a similar bill to the one passed in New York.  It’s been passing in the Connecticut Senate but not House. Last year, again “proponents said the ban could lower prices at the pump,” relates the website of the Advocate newspapers in Connecticut. “But opponents cited a $40,000 Quinnipiac University study, funded by oil industry lobbyists, which concluded the ban would hike prices.” Funded by oil industry lobbyists!

I called Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell’s office and was told she still wants a ban on zone pricing of gas—but the House roadblock remains a big problem.

How did such a bill pass in New York State?

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. of Sag Harbor who has championed a New York prohibition on zone pricing of gas for more than 10 years gives this explanation: “I don’t want to say that there was a silver lining to the dark cloud of high gas prices, but with gas over $4.50 a gallon this summer, the amount of leverage the oil industry had on the political parties was substantially reduced. People were upset over gas prices. And it was an election year. So the major oil companies this year were unable to stop it. The stars lined up.”

It’s no toothless statute: the penalty for violating the law and engaging in zone pricing of gas carries a hefty penalty. The gas wholesaler is subject to a fine of up to “$10,000 for each violation,” says the bill signed into law by Governor David Paterson.

Mr. Thiele says he expects New York’s active Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will be “vigorous in enforcement.” Also, he welcomes any person who as of Monday notices “disparities in gas prices” which smack of zone pricing to contact his office.

As to how the oil industry manipulates the New York State Legislature, Mr. Thiele said it operates “behind-the-scenes” with “campaign contributions” the key tool.

Another measure involving the oil industry recently passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Paterson—beating oil industry pressure with the same configuration of political stars, says Mr. Thiele—is one that ends a restriction on the owner of a gas station affiliated with a major oil company “from going out on the spot market and buying unbranded gasoline,” the assemblyman explains.

This bill, which hasn’t gotten much notice, thus allows the gas station owner to buy cheaper gas and separately sell it as long as it’s identified as “unbranded.” Mr. Thiele was a co-sponsor of this new law, too.

Tyranny of Oil: The World’s Most Powerful Industry—and What We Must Do to Stop It by Antonia Juhasz is a fine new book about the oil industry.  She writes about the destructive impacts of the oil industry including to the environment and democracy.

Zone pricing and limiting gas station owners on what they sell are among many shady oil industry devices—these, at long last, are being stopped in New York State.