As oil prices continue to soar, increased competition among gas distributors has caused many stations to charge consumers outrageous rates for a simple gallon of gasoline. To add insult to injury, gas merchants have been getting caught hiking up their prices over the course of a 24-hour period. One New York gas station was caught raising prices by $0.84 for regular, unleaded gas in a matter of just two days following Hurricane Irene.i
This predatory practice, known as price gouging, cannot continue. Allowing gas distributors to take advantage of families already struggling to make ends meet is unacceptable. Thatís why I helped pass legislation in the Assembly that would ban gas stations from adjusting their prices multiple times within a day (A.1970).
Typically, distributors purchase gas wholesale at a fixed rate. In other words, they buy gasoline at a much lower rate than they turn around and sell it for. Normally, there is no great cause for concern with these practices. However, itís becoming increasingly alarming how staggering the gas price jumps have been in recent months. Lately, it has left many hardworking families fearing that if the trend of huge price increases continues, they will be forced to make drastic cuts in their monthly budgets. Our families shouldnít have to fear choosing between putting food on the table or filling their gas tanks.
New York is already home to some of the highest gas prices in the country. Currently, the average price of gas in New York sits at $3.98 a gallon Ė 22 cents higher than the national average. But here in Buffalo, the average price for a gallon of gas is higher than both the state and national average, currently $3.99 per gallon.ii
Western New York families have enough expenses; they donít need to pile on additional hikes, especially not at the pumps. By banning price gouging, we would be able to ensure consistency and fairness at the pumps, and put an end to deceitful gas merchants trying to take advantage of hardworking families.