2 Belleville gas stations among 5 fined for charging for premium and giving regular instead and other violations

This fill-up station, at 113-119 Franklin St., Belleville, is one of five in Essex County to have been found to have scammed customers into believing they were getting premium fuel while giving them regular — and other violations. Google Street View

Two Belleville gas stations were among five in Essex County that Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced reached a settlement agreement for more than $138,000 in fines after they were found to be overcharging consumers, including by selling regular fuel as premium.

The agreement was negotiated by the Division of Consumer Affairs and resolves an investigation led by the Division’s Office of Weights and Measures and Office of Consumer Protection into violations of multiple state consumer-protection laws and regulations following unannounced fuel-quality inspections at several gas stations.

In addition to making a monetary payment, K.P. Fuel Corp., BK Fuel, Inc., DS Fuel Corp., Millennium Fuel, Inc., and Harb and Parm, Inc. d/b/a Power Services Center, and their owner Sukhdev Singh of Belleville, have agreed to display the accurate price of any fuel they offer or sell and not to misrepresent one grade of fuel as another.

“New Jersey drivers should be able to fill their gas tanks without getting taken for a ride,” Bruck said. “Gas stations are on notice that we won’t stand for them cheating their customers. The sale of regular gas as premium not only causes consumers to overpay but also threatens damage to their vehicles.”

The majority of cars on the road today run on regular gas, but some vehicles require premium, which contains higher levels of octane and typically costs about 50¢ more per gallon.

Regular gasoline in a vehicle designed to use premium can self-ignite and may lead to a persistent knocking sound in the engine and, in severe cases, cause significant engine damage such as broken connecting rods, melted pistons or other damaged components.

The division conducted inspections between July 31, 2019 and Sept. 25, 2020.

The gas stations are:

Millennium Fuel, 113-119 Franklin St., Belleville.

DS Fuel, 605 Washington Ave., Belleville.

KP Fuel, 864 Mt. Prospect Ave., Newark.

BK Fuel, 108 Bloomfield Ave., Newark.

Power Service Center, 456 W. Market St., Newark

Under the terms of the consent order, the respondents also agreed to maintain weighing and measuring devices in proper operating condition at the gas stations, to exhibit all required documentation for inspection and examination, and to comply with all state and federal laws and regulations.

The total settlement of over $138,000 includes $114,200 in civil penalties and $24,319 in investigative costs and attorneys’ fees. Under the terms of the order, $27,519 in civil penalties are suspended and will be automatically vacated after one year if the respondents comply with the terms of the order.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, may file an online complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Pages/Consumer-Complaints.aspx or by calling (800) 242-5846 to request a complaint form by mail.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.