350 Of New Jersey's Gas Stations Are Violating State Regulations. Here's A Map Of Them.

A recent sweep of New Jersey gas stations by state and local inspectors resulted in over a third of them receiving citations for posting the wrong gas prices on road signs, changing the price of gas too often, and other other violations. The New Jersey Star Ledger made a very helpful map of the violator stations, available inside.


New Jersey has 3,142 gas stations, according to the Star Ledger. Inspectors checked 1,023 of them, and issued citations to 350 owners. New Jersey’s Attorney General encouraged consumers to report any violations they come across. A larger version of the map can be viewed here.
(Thanks to Ryan!)

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  1. PyroBor says:

    This story has been up since 1:00pm Eastern. Fifteen minutes later and not a single comment… I knew New Jersey *boring*, but this is just sad…

  2. PyroBor says:

    …sad that merchants are using shady business practices. Poor NJ.

  3. RhymePhile says:

    @PyroBor:

    It’s lunch time, and the Jersey bashing is unnecessary.

    Also, @Alex Chasick: The embedded map is causing the page to load really *really* slowly. Maybe a link is better.

    If anyone checks out the link to the larger map, be sure to check both pages. It’s not alphabetical.

    Thanks for the tip (from those of us who happen to love New Jersey).

  4. pal003 says:

    I bet it is worse elsewhere. NJ is just more strict about its gasoline laws. I’ll never get over having to teach former NJ people how to operate a self-service gasoline pump.

    I drive buy a few gas stations whose gas prices seem to fluctuate 2-3 cents every day!! What is up with that?

    Kudos to the Star Ledger for showing this.

  5. Don’t misuse statistics like bad corporations! You can infer 34% of those checked failed, or 11% of those in the state (still damn high). only after they check the other 2119 stations and find another 687 failing could the statment that a third of them in the state are violating regulations.

    Sorry, but we goota keep you honest too.

  6. jjeefff says:

    Come on. I clicked on dozens of the individual stations on the map and most of the violations are minor in nature: missing documentation, missing registration, or unlabeled brand of gas. I would like everyone to picture an inspector showing up unannounced to a gas station and asking some random attendant to immediately produce the station’s documentation. Yea right. What a bore.

  7. Tmoney02 says:

    a “third of them receiving citations for posting the wrong gas prices on road signs, changing the price of gas too often

    Whats wrong with changing your prices based on the market, current supply, and current demand? As long as the prices are changed at the road and on the pump why is it a problem?

  8. Tmoney02 says:

    Sorry about that forgot to close my bold!

  9. bohemian says:

    Meh, the nearby gas station that I have caught having a considerably lower price on the road sign vs. the pump now does one better.
    They shut off the light up road sign from the time they open in the morning until after noon. I think it is so the commuters leaving for work can’t decide if they should fill up there or chance it and fill up in the city based on price.
    The first time I saw this I figured someone forgot or was working on it. But they have done this every day for two weeks.

  10. Johnyalamo says:

    Tony Soprano is going to be pissed that his bottom line is now getting cut.

  11. Pieces of human trash. When we’re paying an arm and a leg already, they try to squeeze some more money out of us.

    It’s definitely easier to get away with here in NJ though, since most people here just pull right up and ‘place their order,’

    I imagine if we had to pump it ourselves we would be much more aware of these lil injustices.

  12. mikelotus says:

    Gas i cheap in jersey and you don’t have to pump it yourself.

  13. RodAox says:

    I will not even drive through the state…. get out while you can….GET OUT

  14. Mollyg says:

    @Tmoney02: If the stations that were checked were randomly chosen, then it would be statistically valid to infer that 1/3 of the rest would also fail. This is no a misuse of statistics.

    Now, if the stations checked were chosen in a non-random manner, such as though consumer complaints, then one could not infer that 1/3 of the rest would fail.

  15. Tmoney02 says:

    @Mollyg: I think you ment to reference @valarmorghulis:

  16. mugsywwiii says:

    @Tmoney02:
    I believe the law allows them to change the price only once every 24 hours. I’m not sure what the rationale is, but I would guess that it is to force stations to price competitively. If station A set their price to $.25 higher than a “competitive” price, and their neighbor station B sets their price to a competitive price, then station A isn’t going to get much business until they lower their prices. Forcing them to wait 24 hours to change the price makes them think twice about pricing too high. But that’s just my theory.

  17. Alex Chasick says:

    @valarmorghulis:
    @Mollyg:
    The article says they checked every station in a group of counties. So it wasn’t completely random, but they also didn’t only check stations that had received complaints. That is a little too long to fit in the title, and the first sentence of the story makes it clear, but I don’t want to mislead so I’ll change the title to say 350 instead of a third. Thanks for pointing it out!

  18. mac-phisto says:

    @Tmoney02: realistically, a station pays for the gas when it’s delivered, so charging any more or less than what they paid for it (plus their meager profit) seems irrational.

    i can understand the importance of competition, but if i bought 10,000 gallons at $3.97 to sell at $4.10, why should i be raising the price to $4.37 before my next 10,000 gallons comes in at $4.24?

    i know the market is pretty volatile right now, but commodity trading shouldn’t be impacting consumer purchasing on an hourly basis. the trading impacts future deliveries, not those already made.

  19. serialportme says:

    Go easy on Jersey -

    Cheap gas and I don’t have to get out of my car in the heat, cold or rain.

  20. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @valarmorghulis: You can infer 34% of those checked failed, or 11% of those in the state (still damn high)

    No, we know for a fact that 34% of those checked (or ~11% of those in the state) failed. 1023 sites inspected, 350 owners cited. There’s nothing to infer there, it’s just simple math.

    However, if the 1023 stations were chosen randomly, we can infer, with 99% certainty, that 34% (± 3%) of all NJ gas stations are in violation.
    [www.ezsurvey.com]

  21. Brain.wav says:

    Is there a separate list of stations that violate the can’t-pump-your-own-gas laws? I hate driving in Jersey due to this.

  22. Tmoney02 says:

    @mac-phisto: I understand the futures market and understand that they are paying a certain price for the delivery. but you ask why should i be raising the price to $4.37 before my next 10,000 gallons comes in at $4.24?

    I say why not? If I have a gas station and I have a bad day and feel like raising the price 10 cents for half a day why shouldn’t I be allowed to? People will surely go to another station and my business will suffer, or they will decide my location is convinent enough that they will pay the premium.

    Also the commodity trading does have some impact on the price at the pump. If I am a station owner I will be pricing in expected higher costs of my product as I will soon need more money on hand to buy the same 10,000 gallons as last week and it would be better to have the extra money before buying ensuring my profit, rather than hoping to collecting it afterward when the market could possibly fall out and I lose money.

  23. Tmoney02 says:

    @brainwav: Ditto

  24. drjayphd says:

    So, if the map at the current zoom level is indicative of anything, New Jersey violates New Jersey’s gas regulations. Good to know.

    @RhymePhile: NJ bashing is always necessary. Especially when we’re getting reamed by gas prices in CT (although at least we can point and laugh at anyone with the misfortune to buy gas in Fairfield County). ;)

    @TinyBug: As per Alex Chasick‘s comment, it wasn’t totally random, in that they checked every station in certain counties. So I’m not sure you can really project it that way.

  25. radiochief says:

    @Tmoney02: Because, conversely you could conceivably manuever your prices to attract the ‘right’ kind of clientele or discouraging the ‘wrong’ kind.

  26. BytheSea says:

    They may be cheating, but they have far cheaper gas than the surrounding states.

  27. darkrose says:

    What did they do? Allow someone to pump their own freaking gas?!

    HORROR OF HORRORS!!!!

  28. fluiddruid says:

    Two in my hometown (North Brunswick); I can’t be surprised.

  29. sean77 says:

    [www.azstarnet.com]

    In Arizona, one out of every 50 gas pumps shorted customers last year.

  30. mac-phisto says:

    @Tmoney02: i agree with what you’re saying partially, but the futures market is trading august deliveries right now. should a station owner really be padding his deliveries 6 weeks in advance?

    that’s not how futures trading is supposed to work, which is indicative of a flaw in the marketplace. prices for june & july deliveries are already set – the station owner should know his prices for at least the next month – he shouldn’t have to change prices hourly.

  31. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @drjayphd: As per Alex Chasick’s comment, it wasn’t totally random, in that they checked every station in certain counties. So I’m not sure you can really project it that way.

    Yah, I saw that after I posted. It wrecks up statistics past my ability to calculate. But looking at the larger version of the map, it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of violaters are clustered in and around the cities of Newark and Camden. Those two areas (about 4-5 counties out of 21) also have the highest unemployment rates, highest crime rates, lowest income, etc, in the State, by far.

    Using 100% of the values of the four most extreme (in the bad direction) counties is certainly skewing the results.

  32. TechnoDestructo says:

    @mac-phisto:

    It isn’t irrational…they raise the price in the hopes of squeezing more profit out of the gas they already bought. They lower the price when they feel they can’t get away with the higher price based on what competitors are doing.

  33. buyer5 says:

    @darkrose: THIS I went down to the NJ/NYC area for the first time last year. I was SHOCKED when someone walked up to my car to pump my gas. Odd thing was, I didn’t want them to… but didn’t say otherwise.

  34. mac-phisto says:

    @TechnoDestructo: i’m having a hard time determining if that comment is sarcastic or not.

    either way, what you’re referring to is a market anomaly, therefore it is “irrational behavior”.

    though what you say goes a long way at revealing that 1) prices in the marketplace are currently under more pressure from speculation than by supply/demand, 2) manipulation is present at least on one level of the distribution chain & 3) we do not have anything even remotely representing a free market.

  35. akede2001 says:

    @Tmoney02: Because it’s not just market. It’s seeing the station across the street change their price, so you change yours. Then they change theirs again to widen the margin on yours, so you change yours. It can go either way– they compete by lowering prices and you go lower, consumer wins. That isn’t going to happen now. They’ll raise theirs. You raise yours a little more.

    Or you can go over there and talk to them, and agree that if they raise theirs even more you’ll raise yours too. That way you both win.

  36. forgottenpassword says:

    My fav trick gas stations use… putting the regular,medium,premium in different order on the pump…. so that people not paying attention end up paying for more expensive gas instead of the cheapest (regular).

  37. chuckv says:

    If about a third of the state’s gas stations are violating regulations, there’s probably a problem with the regulations, not the gas stations.

  38. donkeyjote says:

    @forgottenpassword: Not in Jersey. Since you tell them what you want, if they put the wrong thing, that’s their problem.

  39. no.no.notorious says:

    @Captain_Collide: jersey gas is way cheaper than new york, so i wouldn’t notice if the price was listed at “too high,” overall it’s about 30 cents cheaper than where i am.

  40. screw NJ

  41. mdoneil says:

    Perhaps if they didn’t have to have an attendant fill your tank they could lower the prices.

    Although NJ does have a very low state gas tax, 14.5 cents per gallon.

  42. @chuckv: Keeping in mind that it’s actually against the law in NJ to sell gas too cheaply, I think you might be right.

  43. Metropolis says:

    I live in NJ and I’m only paying 3.83 per gallon. How much are you guys paying?

    New Jersey > your scrub ass states

  44. bvita says:

    @mugsywwiii: I think that we still have a similar law in Massachusetts. Back in the 1970′s a few gas stations had 9AM to 9PM pricing and 9PM to 9AM pricing. The one that comes to mind was in Gloucester and had four pumps, two of which were turned on at a time (two day pumps/two night pumps). You were allowed to change pricing once a day, no more.

  45. plim says:

    hmm…none in bergen county either…not bad.

    @RodAox: you’ll drive through jersey when you realize you’re paying anywhere from 0.50 to 1.00 less in jersey, and it’s full service!

    that’s the best gas saving tip out there. forget hybrid cars, fill up in jersey!

  46. AndrewJC says:

    @Tmoney02:

    If I am a station owner I will be pricing in expected higher costs of my product as I will soon need more money on hand to buy the same 10,000 gallons as last week

    Not sure if you’re aware of this, but it doesn’t work like that. Gas station owners pay a rate for gasoline that has been known for three months. The price that oil closes on each day is for a date of delivery that’s three months in the future (you hear this on NPR every once in a while when they report the price of oil on the news: “Oil closed thirty cents higher today than yesterday for September delivery.”), so you can’t make the claim that you need to raise prices because you aren’t sure if you’ll have enough cash on hand to buy the fuel. You should have already been pricing your gas so that you would be able to do that, since you should already know how much that gas is going to cost in two days. If you fail to do that, you’re a bad business manager. :)

    The once-every-24-hours rule is a good one, in my opinion. If the price of oil jumps a dollar or two during the course of the day, then drops five dollars at the time of close, you can bet that VERY few gas stations would raise their prices accordingly midday and then drop them in the evening. It’s price gouging, plain and simple.

    Of course, a LOT of these problems would go away in a heartbeat if OIL WASN’T TRADED ON THE FUTURES MARKET. It’s just a RIDICULOUS thing to trade on futures, since speculation can cause insane inflations to the price, when we know EXACTLY how much oil is available to be drilled.

  47. Lizard_King says:

    Twice a week I have to drive to Jersey for work. I use this as an opportunity to fill-up. As a motorcycle user, I am GLAD stations violate at least one policy – the state mandated full serve policy. Is someone getting paid minimum wage going to be as careful filling my tank as I am? Are they going to ensure I don’t get gas on my crotch, seat or hot engine? NO.

  48. PhiTauBill says:

    Other than the corrupt politicians, ridiculously high taxes and insane congestion, NJ rocks!