A.G. Schneiderman Undertakes Comprehensive Review Behind Rising Gas Prices In Southern Tier


BINGHAMTON - Amid sky-high prices at the pump for Binghamton area residents, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office is initiating a comprehensive review on the rising cost of gasoline in the Southern Tier. With prices at the pump leading to an increase in consumer complaints to the Attorney General's office, Schneiderman said he would compile data on prices being charged in the area, and seek to determine the causes behind the recent increase. Schneiderman cautioned that there may not be wrongdoing behind the price spikes, but said that if there is, he will pursue all appropriate remedies to crack down on it.

"Drivers across the Southern Tier are getting slammed at the gas pump, and have a right to know not only how gas prices are determined, but whether they're being taken advantage of," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "On behalf of consumers, my office wants to make sure drivers' hard-earned dollars are protected and that they are being charged fairly at gas stations. While we cannot guarantee that there is wrongdoing behind the high prices, we can assure drivers that we will study the situation to try to determine what is behind these price spikes, and go after any violations if they exist."

According to the American Automobile Association, the current average price of regular gasoline in New York State is $3.74 compared to $2.94 at the same time period in 2010. In Binghamton, the current average price is $3.70 compared to $2.94 this time last year.

In addition, varying prices can be seen throughout the city of Binghamton. For example, a gallon of gasoline costs $3.81 at a Vestal Avenue gas station but it costs $3.63 at a station on Court Street, as of earlier this week.

In an effort to understand the recent retail price increases of gasoline in the area, Schneiderman said his study will focus on how the current market volatility determines the cost of gas for retailers and subsequently whether that cost is appropriately passed onto consumers at the gas pump. During disruptions in the oil market resulting from civil disorder, war, military action, and other abnormal events, those who sell gasoline are not allowed to take unfair advantage of consumers by charging grossly excessive prices. The goal of the Attorney General's study is to determine whether gas prices accurately reflect current market conditions or if there are unjustified price increases.

"At a time when the public is very skeptical about what goes on behind the scenes when determining gas prices, it is my responsibility to make sure that everyone involved in setting prices plays by the rules," said Attorney General Schneiderman.

The Attorney General's regional offices will gather pricing data from gas station retailers throughout the region, perform its review, and release any relevant findings in the coming months.