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Senator Fuschillo Asks State Attorney General Cuomo To Be On The Lookout For Possible Price Gouging At Long Island Gas Stations

 

State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., Chairman of the State Senate Committee on Consumer Protection, sent the attached letter to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo asking his office to investigate possible price gouging at Long Island gas stations.

Senator Fuschillo reported that yesterday two separate gas stations in his Senate district had a price difference of approximately 16 cents per gallon ($3.099 per gallon compared to $3.259 per gallon), even though the stations are only one block apart.

Senator Fuschillo (R-Merrick) said, "With the price of gasoline on Long Island rising almost 25 cents per gallon in the last month alone and expected to go up much higher, we need to make sure that no service stations take advantage of New York consumer at the pumps. I am asking Attorney General Cuomo to take a look at the pricing in the past weeks to ensure that Long Islanders are paying fair market prices."

Senator Fuschillo is the sponsor of state legislation (S. 1547) that would increase penalties for gasoline stations and other businesses convicted of price gouging. The measure would raise the maximum fine for price gouging from $10,000 to $25,000, which would served as a major financial disincentive for businesses to engage in this unlawful practice and better protect New York consumers.

The legislation was approved by the State Senate on February 28 of this year, however, the State Assembly has not acted on the measure. Senator Fuschillo first introduced the bill in the wake of Hurricane Katrina , when more than 2,000 New York residents reported potential price gouging at the pump. An investigation by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer revealed that 15 service stations in New York State, including two in Senator Fuschillo’s district, were indeed unlawfully charging consumers excessively high prices.

Read Senator Fuschillo's letter to the Attorney General below.




May 3, 2007


Honorable Andrew Cuomo
New York State Attorney General
120 Broadway
New York, New York 10271

Dear Attorney General Cuomo:

With the average price of gasoline on Long Island skyrocketing and Long Islanders being forced to pay well over $3 per gallon, I am writing to ask that your office continue to be on the lookout for price gouging.

AAA estimates the average price of gasoline on Long Island rose almost 25 cents per gallon in the last month alone, reaching an average of $3.159 per gallon this morning. With the summer driving season approaching, and more people using their cars, these prices will almost certainly continue to climb.

Earlier today, two different gas stations in my Senate district had a price difference of approximately 16 cents per gallon ($3.099 per gallon compared to $3.259 per gallon), even though these stations are only one block apart.

We have already seen that some gas stations in New York State are willing to over-inflate their prices simply to increase their profits. After prices skyrocketed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I requested that then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer conduct a price gouging investigation. That investigation resulted in several gas stations across the state, including some in my Senate district, being fined for price gouging.

As Chairman of the Senate’s Consumer Protection Committee, I respectfully request that your office monitor this situation to make sure that consumers do not fall victim to this type of predatory pricing. Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

CHARLES J. FUSCHILLO, JR.
New York State Senator



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