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City Councilman: Gas Price Gouging Found On Hutch Parkway

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Pain at the pump got more severe last week. AAA said the average cost of a gallon of gas jumped about 15 cents.

Drivers are on the lookout for price gouging, but one local official said the city is allowing it to happen right under its nose, reports CBS 2's Tony Aiello.

The price at this pump is enough to make your heart jump.

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"I was really blown away by the price!" one driver said.

It's $4.09 a gallon for regular at the two CITGO stations on the Hutchinson River Parkway just north of the Bruckner. One driver didn't pay attention and a fill-up cost him $63.

"Kind of in a hurry, coming back from vacation, just wanted to get where I was going, did not look," said Tracy McMillan of Fairfield, Conn.

Aiello looked and found gas 40 cents cheaper at a nearby Hess station, 50 cents cheaper at a BP station and 60 cents cheaper at an independent station. And that has Bronx City Councilman James Vacca calling for action against the CITGO stations.

"They're obligated to be in sync with surrounding gasoline prices in the immediate community," Vacca said.

The CITGO stations sit on city land and operate under a deal with the Parks Department. Last summer the department warned the stations about price gouging -- reminding the owner to offer "quality and price as prevail at other stations within a 5-mile radius."

"I want the city to terminate this contract," Vacca said, adding "$4.09 is nowhere near any gas station in the immediate vicinity, and they're violating the terms of their agreement."

These prices are actually an improvement over last August, when this station was caught selling gas for about 90 cents more per gallon than other stations in the area.

The owner denied gouging, telling Aiello the stations are expensive to operate because of the rent the city charges -- despite their convenience on the parkway.

Some drivers told Aiello the prices at the stations are always peculiar and that they always just drive right on by.

It turns out, there's cheaper gas at the next exit.

Late Monday the Parks Department said based on complaints it is "evaluating" prices at the CITGO stations.

How angry does this make you? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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