[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Legislature of the County of Ulster by L.L. No. 5-1989. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter prescribes regulations regarding the sale of motor vehicle fuel and the prohibition of water contamination or lead contamination and the proper labelling of motor vehicle fuels for use in motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines. These regulations are based upon a determination by this Legislature that contamination of a fuel or its improper use will endanger the public health or impair, to a significant degree, the performance of a motor vehicle emission control device and for the prevention of fraudulent practices which may occur in the sale of motor vehicle fuels and certain other findings.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Director of Weights and Measures.[Amended 8-17-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]
- Any person who transports or stores or causes the transportation or storage of gasoline from any point to any other point.
- Any fuel sold in Ulster County for use in motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines and commonly or commercially known or sold as gasoline.
- GASOLINE STATION
- Any motor vehicle fuel dispensing facility, service station,
repair shop or other place or premises where gasoline is sold, offered
for sale or allowed to be sold to the general public at retail.[Amended 8-17-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]
- LEADED GASOLINE
- Gasoline which contains more than 0.005 gram of lead per gallon.
- MOTOR VEHICLE FUEL
- Liquid used as fuel for internal combustion engines. This
term shall specifically include, but not be limit to, gasoline and
diesel fuel.[Amended 8-17-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]
- The rating of the anti-knock characteristics of a grade or type of automotive gasoline as more fully defined in 15 U.S.C. § 2821 and the applicable federal regulations pursuant thereto.
- The person in charge of the gasoline station. This term shall specifically include, but is not limited to, the owner, lessee, manager, assistant manager or any other person in charge of the operations or activities of a gasoline station.
- Any natural person, corporation, unincorporated association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint-stock association or any other entity or business organization of any kind.
- STORAGE TANK
- Any reservoir or container used for holding of motor vehicle
fuel. This term includes, but is not limited to, aboveground gasoline
tanks, underground gasoline tanks, and delivery gasoline tanks or
trucks.[Amended 8-17-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]
- UNLEADED GASOLINE
- Gasoline containing not more than 0.05 gram of lead per gallon and not more than 0.005 gram of phosphorous per gallon.
The water, octane, lead and phosphorus content of gasoline will be determined by such tests as may be approved by the Director. Any certificate duly signed by a chemist, analyst or other expert employed by the Director or any analysis, examination or investigation made by such analyst, chemist or expert with respect to any sample of gasoline which the Director has caused to be examined shall be presumptive evidence of the facts therein stated.
The Director or the Director's authorized representative shall have the right to enter any gasoline station or the premises or property of any operator or distributor and shall have the right to make inspections, take samples and conduct tests to determine compliance with this chapter. All distributors and operators shall be required to produce their records of the purchase, storage and sale of motor vehicle fuel, and particularly any and all records required to be kept pursuant to this chapter.
No distributor shall sell to any distributor or operator any gasoline which is falsely described or labeled. A distributor shall be liable for the transfer of gasoline into the proper storage tank.
No operator, distributor or its employee or agent shall sell, introduce or cause or allow the introduction of leaded gasoline into any motor vehicle which is labeled "unleaded gasoline only."
No operator, distributor or its employee or agent shall sell, expose for sale or offer for sale any gasoline in any manner whatsoever so as to deceive or tend to deceive the purchaser as to the nature, quality and identity of the gasoline so sold or offered for sale.
Each operator shall affix to each gasoline pump stand a permanent legible label as follows:
For gasoline pump stands containing pumps for the introduction of unleaded gasoline into motor vehicles, the label shall state "unleaded gasoline".
For gasoline pump stands containing pumps for the introduction of super unleaded gasoline or premium unleaded gasoline into motor vehicles, the label shall state "premium unleaded gasoline."
For gasoline pump stands containing pumps for the introduction of leaded gasoline into motor vehicles, the label shall state "leaded gasoline."
For gasoline pump stands containing pumps for the introduction of diesel fuel into motor vehicles, the label shall state "diesel fuel."
Each gasoline pump shall clearly identify the octane rating of the gasoline dispensed from said pump.
The Ulster County Bureau of Weights and Measures shall issue stickers that state the Ulster County Consumer Fraud Bureau telephone number and the Ulster County Bureau of Weights and Measures Consumer Complaint telephone number to every operator which shall be affixed to each gasoline pump.
[Added 9-24-2013 by L.L. No. 4-2013]
Displaying gasoline prices in a manner which fails to include and make plainly visible to the consumer of the difference, if any, between the price per gallon for payment by cash, debit, or credit shall be prohibited. For example, a sign which only reveals the price per gallon for a cash payment but fails to include and make equally and plainly visible the price per gallon by debit or credit payment, when a difference in price exists, shall constitute a deceptive trade practice. However, a sign which does not distinguish between the price per gallon for payment by cash and payment by credit or debit shall not be considered a deceptive trade practice, only if the price per gallon is the same regardless of the form of payment. The price of gasoline available to retail customers on one or more signs must be so positioned and lit so that the price that the signs display will be readily seen by motorists approaching the gasoline station at any time that the gasoline station is open for business to supply gasoline. If only one price is posted, such signs must display in all instances the price of gasoline at the standard retail price available to all customers, without any discounts or special offers. If discounted pricing is displayed on the sign it must be of the same size as the regular price of gasoline.
[Added 9-23-2014 by L.L. No. 4-2014]
Any label required under Subsection C of this section shall be located so as to be readily visible to the operator's employees and customers.
The operator of a gasoline station shall be required to measure the level of water contained in each gasoline storage tank located at such facility at least once each day on any day during which the facility is open to the public for any portion of such day.
The operator of a gasoline station shall be required to measure the level of water contained in each gasoline storage tank located at such facility within one hour after delivery of gasoline has been made to any such storage tank, except that if a delivery of gasoline is made during a time in which the gasoline station is not open to the public, then the operator shall measure the level of water contained in each gasoline storage tank into which gasoline was delivered within one hour after the gasoline station facility opens to the public.
No operator shall sell or offer for sale any gasoline which draws from a storage tank at a gasoline station which contains more than two inches of water.
No operator shall sell or offer for sale gasoline from a pump which draws from any storage tank during the time in which a delivery of gasoline is being made to or into such tank unless the operator of the gas station shall have measured the level of water contained in any storage tank immediately before the delivery begins and determined that the storage tank contains no more than two inches of water.
Any distributor who violates this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty and shall pay to Ulster County the amount of $5,000 for each and every day of the continuance of such violation. Violation shall be presumed to have begun on the last delivery of gasoline to that pump's storage tank.
Any operator who violates this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty and shall pay to Ulster County the amount of $1,000 for each and every day of continuance of such Violation. Violation shall be presumed to have begun on the last delivery of gasoline to that pump's storage tank.
[Amended by L.L. No. 4-1991]
Where there is evidence of intent to defraud, the Director may refer evidence of such violation to the Ulster County District Attorney or, in the absence of intent to defraud, refer the violation to the Ulster County Attorney for commencement of a civil action in the name of Ulster County to recover a civil penalty in the amount prescribed in this chapter. A cause of action for recovery of such penalty may be released, settled or compromised by the Director before the matter is referred to the Ulster County Attorney and thereafter by the Ulster County Attorney.
All moneys collected shall be deposited in the general fund of the County of Ulster.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Ulster County Consumer Fraud Bureau, Division of Weights and Measures, which shall have the authority to condemn any equipment used in dispensing gasoline in violation of this chapter or to order such a condition rectified within 24 hours.
[Amended 8-17-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]
Any condemnation of equipment shall be in accordance with the procedure set forth in Article 16 of the State of New York Agriculture and Markets Law.
Initiation of action; hearing officer; notice of hearing.
The Director may cause to be held a formal hearing on any alleged violation of this chapter. A formal hearing shall be on due and adequate notice to the person(s) concerned and shall be set down for a day certain.
The Director is empowered to appoint a hearing officer who shall conduct a formal hearing. The hearing officer may be an impartial employee of the Consumer Fraud Bureau, Division of Weights and Measurers, and who has not been involved in any way with the action in question.
[Amended 8-17-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]
The hearing officer shall thereafter prepare findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations on which the Director shall make a formal order setting forth the determination, conditions if any to be complied with, and civil penalties, if any.
A copy of the order of the Director following the formal hearing shall be served on all respondents.
Nothing herein contained shall preclude the Director from taking any action in addition to the formal hearing herein provided for, as may be prescribed by law, nor shall the Director be precluded from taking such other action by virtue of the order made pursuant to this section.
Service of an order or notice of hearing shall be made as follows:
Enclosing the order or notice in a post-paid envelope directed to the person(s) concerned at the address last known to the Director and depositing such envelope in an official depository maintained by the United States Post Office;
Leaving the order or notice with the person concerned or with a person in charge of the premises; or
Posting the order or notice at the entrance door of the premises involved.
The Director, the designated hearing officer or the Ulster County Attorney may issue subpoenas on the request of any party to the proceedings of any formal hearing set down by the Director.
Evidence; action; minutes.
The hearing officer shall not be bound by the rules of evidence in the conduct of a hearing, but the determination shall be founded on sufficient factual evidence to sustain it.
Proof may be adduced with respect to ongoing violations occurred up to and through the date of the hearing, when those violations are sufficiently similar to those charged, to put the respondent on notice of the nature of the violation.
If a respondent has been served with a Director's order in conjunction with a notice of hearing, proof may be adduced with respect to violations of that order after the underlying violation has been proven.
On the conclusion of a hearing, the Director shall take such action as he deems proper and shall execute an order carrying the findings and determinations into effect.
The action of the Director may include the assessment of civil penalties as provided by law.
The minutes of a formal hearing shall be made available to all parties for examination at the office of the Director.
Copies of the minutes of a formal hearing may be purchased at the rate per page covering the cost thereof.