A.G. Schneiderman Cracks Down On More Gas Stations That Engaged In Hurricane Sandy Price Gouging

Settlements With Five Service Stations In Suffolk And Westchester Counties For Gouging Customers During Historic Storm Bring Total Agreements So Far To 30

Schneiderman: We Will Continue To Protect New Yorkers From Gougers

NEW YORK – As part of an ongoing probe of high gasoline prices in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that he has reached monetary settlements with five more service stations for violations of the New York State Price Gouging statute. The five new settlements are with three stations in Westchester County and two stations in Suffolk County. The agreements come on the heels of 25 previous settlements announced earlier this month and bring total penalties going to the state to $185,000 so far.

Beyond the 30 settlement agreements, the Attorney General’s office filed lawsuits against four gas stations early this month and investigations remain pending against dozens of other station.

“As thousands New Yorkers sat in line waiting for hours to buy critical supplies of gasoline during the state of emergency created by Hurricane Sandy, some unscrupulous business owners dramatically and illegally increased their retail prices,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Today, we are continuing our enforcement actions against those who broke the law while their fellow citizens suffered. My office will make sure that businesses that rip off New Yorkers in a time of crisis are held accountable.”

In the days after the storm, areas of New York saw some of the largest jumps in gas prices in state history. The price jumps resulted in hundreds of complaints received by Attorney General Schneiderman’s office and showed that prices were changing at the pump, not only overnight but several times a day.

In Suffolk County, one service station increased its margin by as much as 98% during the storm-related state of emergency.

New York State’s Price Gouging Law (General Business Law § 396-r) prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services for an “unconscionably excessive price” during natural disasters. The price gouging law covers New York State vendors, retailers and suppliers. The law specifically says that a price may be considered excessive if there is a “gross disparity” between the prices charged immediately before and after the emergency and the disparity is not attributable to higher costs imposed upon the seller.

The latest settlements were reached with the following service stations:

Suffolk County:

USA Gasoline, 1080 Main Street, Holbrook, NY

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: $0.45
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $0.89
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before-and-after the storm: 98%
  • Retail price immediately following the storm: $4.69

Pars Auto Service, 540 Sunrise Highway, West Islip, NY 11795

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: $0.83
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $1.35
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before-and-after the storm: 62%
  • Retail price immediately following the storm: $4.29

Westchester County:

Sunoco of RBJ Service Station, 500 Halstead Avenue, Harrison, NY

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: $1.35
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $1.91
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before-and-after the storm: 37%
  • Retail price immediately following the storm: $4.79

Shell of DJ's Auto Delicious, Inc., 905 North Broadway, North White Plains, NY

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: $1.13
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $1.52
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before-and-after the storm: 35%
  • Retail price immediately following the storm: $4.39

A&S Texaco, Inc., 1061 Nepperhan Avenue, Yonkers, NY

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: $1.36
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $1.82
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before-and-after the storm: 34%
  • Retail price immediately following the storm: $4.59

For information about lawsuits filed and settlements reached previously by Attorney General Schneiderman related to Gas Gouging during the emergency, please click here.

These settlements are being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Sandra Giorno-Tocco and Rachael Anello, under the overall supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Martin J. Mack. 

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