N.Y. AG Sues Four Stations, Settles With 25

Accused of gouging customers in Westchester, NYC, Long Island after Sandy

Published in CSP Daily News

Eric Schneiderman

ALBANY, N.Y. -- As part of an ongoing probe of high gasoline prices in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman has announced that he is filing lawsuits against four gas tations for violations of the New York State Price Gouging statute and has reached monetary settlements with 25 other stations totaling $167,850.Investigations are pending against dozens of other gas stations.

The lawsuits, filed in Kings, Nassau and Suffolk County Supreme Courts, accuse the stations of charging consumers unconscionably excessive prices in the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy last November. In the days after the storm, areas of New York saw some of the largest jumps in gas prices in state history. The settlements require that those stations pay penalties to the state.

Gasoline price jumps in the wake of the hurricane resulted in hundreds of complaints received by Schneiderman's office and showed that prices were changing at the pump, not only overnight but several times a day.

New York State's Price Gouging Law prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services for an "unconscionably excessive price" during natural disasters. The price gouging law covers New York State vendors, retailers and suppliers. The law specifically says that a price may be considered excessive if there is a "gross disparity" between the prices charged immediately before and after the emergency and the disparity is not attributable to higher costs imposed upon the seller.

The four gas stations named in lawsuits today are:

Greenpoint Truck Stop Inc./Sonomax, Brooklyn.

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: 98 cents
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $1.85
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before and after storm: 88%
  • Retail price immediately following storm: $4.59

AGIP Gas LLC/USA Petroleum, East Islip.

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: $1.07
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $1.45
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before and after storm: 35%
  • Retail price immediately following storm: $4.59

Mena Inter Inc./USA Petroleum, Farmingdale.

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: $1.04
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $1.80
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before and after storm: 73%
  • Retail price immediately following storm: $4.59

The 900 N. Broadway LLC/BP, Massapequa.

  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price prior to storm: 78 cents
  • Difference between wholesale price and retail price immediately following storm: $1.18
  • Increase in wholesale/retail spread before and after storm: 51%
  • Retail price immediately following storm: $4.29

Settlements have been reached with the following stations:

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Keywords: 
fuel prices