New York politicians want to expand zone pricing ban to protect wealthy customers from slightly higher prices

Michael Giberson

From Newsday:

Two Nassau County legislators Thursday called on the State Senate to join the Assembly in extending the ban on zone pricing for gasoline, which they said unfairly charges more in well-to-do communities than in those less so.

For readers not up on their New York geography, Nassau County is the portion of Long Island closest to New York City.  The county ranks 10th in the nation and second in New York in median income, so generally speaking we are dealing with a relatively well-off bunch of consumers.  The Nassau County legislators are supporting the bill for the same reason that state legislators in wealthy Fairfield County in Connecticut support a zone pricing ban: they want gasoline prices in their neighborhoods to be made closer to the gasoline prices in lower-income neighborhoods.

A gas station owner quoted in the Newsday story said the extended ban would “end a discriminatory practice and benefit all members of the community,” but it is easy to see that if the high-end prices get a little lower and the low-end prices get a little higher, the not “all members of the community” are benefited.  Rather, the law may just raise prices to low-income consumers in order to give the pretense of providing “consumer protection” to high-income consumers.


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