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HV Assemblyman Vows To Fight High Gas Prices In One Area

person pumping gas

A New York state assemblyman from the Hudson Valley stands ready to take action against a local gas station owner if prices at a few stations near West Point aren’t lower by next month.

Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis has written to the head of the only two gas stations in the Town of Highlands in Orange County asking that he lower prices that tend to run about 30 to 40 cents higher than in surrounding areas.

“Certainly there’s, the market’s going to allow for some fluctuation in prices. That’s to be expected,” says Skoufis. “But to be so consistently and significantly higher than everyone else, clearly there’s something going on here and it’s not acceptable.”

One station is in Highland Falls and the other in Fort Montgomery. Both are near the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and in a geographically isolated area, cut off by the Hudson River on one side and mountains on the other. In a letter dated January 17, Skoufis wrote to a top executive of New Paltz-based Chestnut Petroleum Distributors saying that if the prices are not lowered within 30 days in line with surrounding communities, he would request that New York’s attorney general launch an investigation into price gouging. If that doesn’t pan out, Skoufis says he’ll look to inject competition in the area.

“I’ve already spoken with Town of Highlands supervisor, Village of Highland Falls mayor, and they’re on board with at least exploring the possibility of opening the West Point gas stations to the Town of Highlands community,” Skoufis says. “Perhaps we look to see if we can attract another gas station to come in the community and compete.”

None of the top executives were at the company when phoned for a request for comment. And a message left for another official with the company was not returned in time for this broadcast. Skoufis says he has not yet heard back. Village of Highland Falls Mayor Patrick Flynn says the high prices have been around for a long time. He says company officials previously have offered an explanation.

“When we’ve approached them in the past, their response has been that it costs more to get the gas to the area,” says Flynn.

He says he supports Skoufis’s efforts to have the prices lowered.

“A lot of times people are waiting to get gas over the mountain because it’s 20, 30, 40 cents cheaper,” Flynn says. “But now you’re wasting time and gas just getting gas.”

A West Point spokesman was not available for comment on whether the installation’s gas station could be made available for local use.

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