Following the storm, as drivers began lining up for gas at the few service stations that had power to pump it, elected officials warned retailers that any gouging would be prosecuted. Before Cuomo eventually instituted odd- and even-day rationing, drivers often waited in hours-long lines to fill their tanks.
The law against price gouging, the state’s General Business law states, “prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services for an unconscionably excessive price during an abnormal disruption of the market.” The most common price gouging in emergencies involves gasoline and food.
Schneiderman’s investigation has not yet concluded, and his office continues to sort through residents’ complaints. A representative of Liberty Petroleum could not be reached for comment.