Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Regarding The Price Of Gasoline

"As New Yorkers know all too well, the price of gasoline has risen steadily over the past several months, and this week, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the price spiked dramatically.

My offices around the state have received numerous calls from consumers expressing concern at these developments and questioning the legality of the price increases. In response, I have instructed my staff to monitor the situation and pursue evidence of any illegality.

In this regard, the public should understand that there is no specific regulation of gasoline prices in New York. Retailers generally are free to charge whatever the market will bear. However, retailers, distributors, refiners and producers are not free to use a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, to justify dramatic price increases unless those increases are directly attributable to additional costs incurred. If they do raise prices without such justification, they may be price gouging, which is illegal under New York State law.

My office will work with relevant federal, state and local agencies to determine whether violations have occurred. We will respond quickly and aggressively if evidence of price gouging is uncovered."


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