Questions linger about the legality of Costco moving to require a membership for gas purchases at its New Jersey locations starting July 5.

Signs with the announcement have been reported at many of the chain's 17 gas locations in New Jersey where prices can run as much as 20 cents per gallon cheaper than other gas stations.

Both members and non-members can take advantage of the bargain as Costco and other warehouse stores have seemingly been prohibited from requiring membership since 2004, when the state told the company that doing so violated state law, according to news coverage at the time.

At least that's what everyone thought. Nobody, however, seems able to pinpoint that exact regulation or ruling.

"I am learning they (Costco) are taking a position that it is not illegal to limit their customers to members at their New Jersey gas stations and I see nothing in state law that prevents them from doing this," Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, and Automotive Association, told New Jersey 101.5.

Risalvato said that the state Division of Consumer Affairs has also had difficulty finding the law cited in 2004 and officials called him looking for help to identify it.

On Wednesday, the Division of Consumer Affairs and Costco had not responded to New Jersey 101.5's request a day earlier for more information.

Sign announcing membership requirement at Costco in Wharton
Sign announcing membership requirement at Costco in Wharton (Kayla Mackenzie)
loading...

Members complain about long lines

Costco's decision could be in response to member complaints about waiting in long lines with non-members.

Anthony C., a member from Clifton, told New Jersey 101.5 that he is disappointed in how Costco has treated members.

"I personally can't waste time like this. I work an average of 65 to 70 hours per week. I have discussed this with my wife and decided once my membership expires, I will no longer renew it,"  Anthony said. "My time off is too valuable and not worth the stress and anxiety this matter puts on me. Hopefully, Costco will make some fair changes and do what's right."

The store is already gearing up for the membership requirement.

An employee at the Costco in Lawrence said he's already been told that someone will be positioned at the entrance to the gas station checking memberships and turning away the general public.

Chris Rollins and Diana Tyler contributed to this report

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

Nasty NJ town nicknames — Have you heard of them?

Dennis & Judi asked their listeners for the nasty nicknames they've heard their towns referred to. How many have you heard? Which ones would you add?

One of the Top 50 Candy stores in the US is right here in Jersey

Black River Candy Shoppe in Chester New Jersey was selected in Food Network Magazine's “America’s 50 Best Candy Stores” a couple of years back and the story went viral online earlier this year.

I decided to take a trip down there for myself to see what they had to offer. Right, when you walk in you feel like you are Charlie about to take over the chocolate factory. Black River Candy Shoppe is a cute little candy shop offering hundreds of different types of candy.

They have old-school childhood candy as well as an incredible selection of newer candy varieties. Candy is displayed in old whiskey barrels, and a lot of their candy is sold in bulk by the pound. It is located in downtown Chester right off of Main Street. Check out the photos from my recent visit:

New Jersey's license plate designs through the years