Cars line up at a Costco gas station in Clifton, New Jersey in 2004.
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Costco will bar non-members from buying its gas in New Jersey starting July 5, NJ Advance Media reports.
Costco gas is a popular option for drivers looking to save on fuel.
It’s unclear whether Costco was ever legally prohibited from enforcing its members-only rule.
Costco reportedly is getting ready to bar non-members from purchasing its discounted gas in New Jersey.
NJ Advance Media reported that drivers in the state were alerted of this development through signs posted at Costco gas stations, which announced the change will take place on July 5. After that, only Costco members will be able to purchase gas at the warehouse chain’s stations. The retailer has an exemption nationwide for Costco Shop Card holders.
Nearly two decades ago, Costco reportedly caved to New Jersey’s demands that it open up its pumps to all members of the public. The Associated Press wrote in 2004 that, “Costco’s membership requirement violated New Jersey laws regarding fuel sales, according to state consumer officials.” But insiders say New Jersey may have overstated its case 18 years ago.
“The rules have not changed,” Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, Automotive Association, told Insider in a statement. “NJ law never had anything in it that prohibited Costco from selling gas to ‘Members Only.'”
Risalvato said he believes that in 2004, New Jersey’s Department of Consumer Affairs “balked at the notion of Costco only selling gas to their members” and that the chain “acquiesced and permitted the gas pumps to serve all motorists” to avoid a controversy.
“Apparently, officials at consumer affairs then made comments at that time to the media to the effect that they were enforcing state law,” Risalvato said.
Risalvato said that news reports about Costco’s decision have prompted “current consumer affairs officials” to scramble to figure out what happened in 2004.
“Obviously I am very familiar with the NJ statutes that govern motor fuels, and I know of nothing that prohibits Costco from selling to their members only,” he said. “Since I am as prone to mistakes as any other person, I reviewed the laws again and had several of my staff double check me. The result is the same. I find nothing in NJ law that prohibits Costco from selling gas to their members only.”
Risalvato said that it’s possible that certain Costco locations made …read more
Source:: Business Insider