In response to U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement today that the United States will ban imports of Russian oil, natural gas, and coal, New York Attorney Letitia James warned oil companies and gas stations that price gouging is illegal and reminded New Yorkers to be on alert for potential price gouging of fuel. Russia is one of the world’s largest producers of energy, and as a result of these sanctions, New Yorkers should prepare for continued market disruptions, potentially inflated prices at the pump, and ensure that they know their rights. New York law prohibits sellers of fuel and other vital and necessary goods from charging unconscionably excessive prices during an abnormal market disruption, including disruptions caused by world conflicts. New York consumers who experience dramatic increases in the price of gasoline or fuel should report these incidents to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).
“President Biden is taking critical and necessary action to hold Russia accountable for this unprovoked invasion that has claimed thousands of Ukrainian lives,” said Attorney General James. “This newest round of sanctions could impact New Yorkers, so we are reminding companies that price gouging is illegal and ensuring that consumers take precautions to protect themselves and their wallets. Anyone who has experienced issues relating the price gouging of fuel should contact my office, and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect consumers.”
When reporting price gouging to OAG, consumers should:
- Report the specific increased prices, the dates, and places that they saw the increased prices, and the types of fuel being sold;
- Provide copies of their sales receipts and photos of the advertised prices, if available; and
- Buy only as much fuel as they need and not to stock up out of fear of a potential future shortage.
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