Schneiderman busts Yonkers gas station for price gouging

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A Yonkers gas station will pay a fine after state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found it illegally raised its prices while Tropical Storm Irene swept through in August.

Ultimate Quality Food and Fuel Mart, at 60 Elm Street, will pay $7,500 in civil penalties after it allegedly engaged in price gouging, hiking its per-gallon gasoline price from $3.82 to $4.79 in late August despite its wholesale price rising at a much lower rate.

“They had a very minor increase in their wholesale price, but a huge increase in the retail price,” said Assistant Attorney General Gary Brown, who heads the Westchester regional office. “Given that there was a storm in the area that triggered the price-gouging statute, we conducted an investigation and ultimately settled with the company.”

The state’s general business law prohibits “unconscionably excessive” price increasus during and “abnormal disruption of the market,” such as a natural disaster.

Schneiderman’s report didn’t turn up any gouging during the April spikes in gasoline prices, when the investigation was initially launched. Those price hikes were caused by the increasing price in crude oil caused by unrest in Libya, the report found.

Yonkers Mayor-elect Andy Mike Spano, then a state Assemblyman, called for an investigation into Ultimate Fuel Mart’s prices in late August. “It is simply wrong to take advantage of people during a crisis such as what we just experienced with Hurricane Irene,” he said at the time.

Report on New York Gasoline Prices

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3 Comments

  1. THE CONSULTANT on

    gas stations should be obligated to reduce their prices when the wholesale price
    falls by whatever percentage they fall by..have you ever noticed when the price
    of oil spikes gas prices go up rapidly but when they fall the prices do not go down
    in a similar fashion…

  2. Ridiculous. The gas station is on a hill (basically unaffected by Irene) in a neighborhood where a lot of people don’t have cars. It’s also the closest gas station to City Hall. And my guess is that paranoid city officials fearing the “natives getting restless” found they had to pay a little surcharge to head back to paradise. I need to go find that pocket violin.