NJ gas stations admit overcharging, settle with state for $138K
TRENTON – The owner of five Essex County gas stations has agreed to pay the state more than $138,000 to settle charges that the stations were overcharging customers, including by selling regular unleaded as premium.
The charges resulted from unannounced fuel-quality inspections by the Division of Consumer Affairs at several gas stations between July 31, 2019 and Sept. 25, 2020.
The stations are owned by Sukhdev Singh of Belleville, and a search of Google Maps shows they operate under the Millennium name.
The state identified the gas stations involved as KP Fuel, 864 Mt. Prospect Avenue, Newark; BK Fuel, 108 Bloomfield Avenue, Newark; Power Service Center, 456 W. Market Street, Newark; Millennium Fuel, 113-119 Franklin Street, Belleville; and DS Fuel, 605 Washington Avenue, Belleville.
“New Jersey drivers should be able to fill their gas tanks without getting taken for a ride,” said acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck. “Gas stations are on notice that we won’t stand for them cheating their customers.”
The state noted that the sale of regular gas as premium not only causes consumers to overpay but also threatens damage to some vehicles if lower-octane fuel is used, including a persistent knocking sound and significant engine damage such as broken connecting rods or melted pistons.
“Whether consumers choose regular or premium gasoline for their vehicles, we want them to know that our office is committed to ensure that they get what they pay for at the pump,” said acting Director of Consumer Affairs Sean Neafsey.
The stations were also posting a lower price for gas than the amount actually charged, as well as not maintaining weighing and measuring devices.
The total settlement includes $114,200 in civil penalties and $24,319 in investigative costs and attorneys’ fees. If the stations comply with the terms of the order, such as no longer overcharging drivers, $27,519 in civil penalties that are suspended will be automatically vacated.
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.