NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a consumer alert Saturday warning both consumers and businesses about gasoline price gouging following Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent reduction in supply that has impacted New York State.
“Experience has shown that some gas station owners use severe storms as an opportunity to exploit consumers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Hurricane Harvey has led to gas price spikes across the country, including in New York – but we’ll hold accountable those who seek to capitalize on the storm at the expense of hardworking New York families.”
Gasoline prices across the country rose to a two-year high, Thursday. The statewide average price of gasoline has risen 23 cents per gallon since Harvey made landfall in Texas over a week ago.
New Yorkers have seen the following fluctuation in gas prices in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
New York average gas prices as of September 2:
|Week Ago Avg.||$2.479||$2.735||$2.937||$2.704|
|Month Ago Avg.||$2.464||$2.715||$2.923||$2.682|
|Year Ago Avg.||$2.335||$2.583||$2.792||$2.539|
The General Business Law prohibits excessive increases in prices of essential goods and services like gasoline resulting from natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey that significantly disrupt the market.
New York State’s Price Gouging Law also prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services for an “unconscionably excessive price” during an “abnormal disruption of the market,” as represented by a gross disparity between the price of the product immediately prior to and after such an occurrence. The price gouging law covers New York State vendors, retailers and suppliers.