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Post date: September 15 2008

Attorney General Cuomo Cautions Consumers About Possible Gas Price Gouging Following Hurricane Ike

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 15, 2008) – Attorney General Cuomo today warned New York drivers to be on the lookout for possible gas gouging following Hurricane Ike.

Consumers who question the legality of any price increases at their local gas station are strongly encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-771-7755.

While the price of gasoline is not regulated in New York, current law states that 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. The law also prohibits deceptive practices, such as misleading consumers about the price that will be charged at pump.

“My office is closely monitoring the price of gasoline at the pump and throughout the supply chain in an effort to prevent unscrupulous practices of any form,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “New Yorkers stand side-by-side with the people of the Gulf Coast as they continue to pick up the pieces from Hurricane Ike.”

Executive Director of the New York State Association of Service Stations and Repair Shops Ralph Bombardiere said, "By the time Hurricane Ike made landfall Friday, retailers here were already experiencing significant hikes in the wholesale price of gasoline. We brought that information to Attorney General Cuomo and are gratified that his office is monitoring the post-storm pricing practices across the supply chain."

The Attorney General’s Office took similar action following Hurricane Katrina. As a result of that investigation, more than a dozen gas stations across the state were found to be price gouging and fined more than $63,000.