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GLOUCESTER, N.J. -- Garden State gasoline retailers may soon be able to offer discounts and premiums as other states allow. Assemblyman John Burzichelli and Assemblywoman Celeste Riley, both Democrats, sponsored a bill that would make rebates, loyalty cards and other discounts a reality in New Jersey.
"Every other state on the east coast is doing something like that," Riley told The Gloucester County Times . "We are the last to get on board."
"Why shouldn't gas stations be able to offer deals that cut prices to entice motorists to buy their products?" argued Burzichelli. "That's what competition is all about, and competition can only benefit motorists who need those savings."
The bill has already cleared the New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee, chaired by Burzichelli. However, not everyone thinks the idea is a slam dunk.
Nick DePalma, communications and research director for the New Jersey Gasoline-C Store-Automotive Association, told the newspaper that the trade organization had some apprehension about the proposal. "We were more or less afraid it would create a situation of below-cost selling," he said.
DePalma added that the bill, if passed, could make for rough waters for small retailers when competing against larger chains. "[If] selling gas at below cost, their chance of survival would be slim to none," he told the newspaper.
An amended bill, taking into account the association's concerns, however, would be tremendous for all parties, said Executive Director Sal Risalvato. "The consumers win. The supermarkets win. And with this amendment, the small business owners of gasoline stations will have the opportunity to win."