Gas Price Gouging? New York AG Wants To Get to Bottom of Oil Industry Practices

Lack of money for gasoline and fuel.
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New York falls into the category of the second highest gas prices across the country, according to AAA. On Friday, April 15, 2022, gas cost an average of $4.187 per gallon across the state.

New York Attorney General Letitia James believes that price may be too high, even given the pressure of world events, growing demand, and waning supply. CNN reported that James is launching an investigation to discover whether the gas industry has engaged in price gouging. The probe is one of the first — but likely not the last — of its kind, as regulators question the high prices at the pump.

In March, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin also launched an investigation into price gouging. Last week, California state representative Raul Ruiz accused executives from oil companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, Pioneer Natural Resources and Devon Energy of “ripping the American people off,” CNN reported.  

Lawmakers also urged oil producers to cut ties with Russian oil.

The New York AG investigation will focus on major oil companies, refineries that turn crude into gasoline, and independent operators of pipelines and terminals. New York state law bans “unconscionably excessive pricing,” CNN reported.  

Citing how high gas prices have forced working class New Yorkers to choose between buying fuel or food, James told CNN, “Price gouging is unfair and illegal and my office is determined to make sure it doesn’t happen in our state.”

The investigation will focus on every element of the supply chain. However, some experts believe New York gas station prices are in line with crude oil prices right now. Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, told CNN that aggregate data from more than 5,000 New York gas stations “doesn’t show anything unusual.”

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He pointed out that some operators might raise prices because of the convenience they deliver in niche markets. For instance, a gas station on a convenient side of the road, with high-traffic and few competitors in the area, can charge more than a gas station on a major highway with plenty of other options.

If you think you may be experiencing price gouging at New York gas stations, the attorney general urges you to report the previous prices along with the new higher prices, the dates, the name and address of the station, and the grades of fuel being sold. In a statement, James requested that New Yorkers submit copies of their sales receipts and photos of the prices to the Office of the Attorney General, if possible.

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