New York Attorney General Letitia James issued an alert about the potential for gasoline price gouging following the interruption of the Colonial Pipeline.
Asserting that some gas stations appear to have increased their prices in a response to threats of a fuel shortage and increased demand, James warned that New York law prohibits sellers of fuel and other vital and necessary goods from excessively increasing their prices during an abnormal market disruption, including disruptions caused by energy shortages.
In a statement, James said, "To be clear, the price gouging of fuel in New York state will not be tolerated for a moment. If our office sees profiteers take advantage of consumers by boosting prices to excess levels, we will not hesitate to take legal action."
Last year, in response to the pandemic, New York enacted a new price gouging law, which expanded price gouging protection to include any products or services that are vital or necessary to the health, safety, and welfare of consumers or the general public. According to the AG's office, sellers are allowed to increase prices to cover their own cost increases, but it is illegal for them to unconscionably raise prices simply to profit from increased consumer demand.
"the price gouging of fuel in New York state will not be tolerated for a moment" -- New York Attorney General Letitia James