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ALBANY, N.Y. -- As gas prices continue to rise, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo set up a hotline intended to protect consumers from price gouging.
"As gas prices continue to climb across the nation, it is our responsibility to ensure that New Yorkers are not getting taken advantage of at the gas pumps," Cuomo stated last week. "While market forces are usually the cause of these price increases, we are taking action to protect consumers from any unfair and illegal practices during this time."
New Yorkers can now report sudden and unexpected increases in retail gas prices by calling the gas pricing hotline at (800) 214-4372 or filling out a consumer complaint form on the Division of Consumer Protection's website.
The governor also directed the New York Department of State and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to work together to ensure consumers are protected against unfair practices at gasoline pumps.
More specifically, the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Bureau of Weights and Measures will work with municipalities to inspect gas stations across the state to assure measurement accuracy, promote a fair and equitable marketplace, and ensure the quality of petroleum-based products, according to the governor's office. The bureau will also be contacting local Weights and Measures officials to make them aware of the new website and hotline.
"We fully support the Governor’s efforts to provide a resource for consumers to register complaints that will help avoid unfair pricing at the pumps," said New York State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine. "As an agency, we are committed to do our part in this process by ensuring that consumers and businesses are receiving the quality and quantity of petroleum products they paid for."
As CSNews previously reported, the Northeast will continue to see some of the highest pump prices in the nation, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report. As of the report's filing on Feb. 19, New York ranked third in the top 10 states with the highest average gas prices, at $3.99 per gallon.
"If anyone suspects that a gas station may be artificially raising their prices or shorting the quantity of gas paid for, call the gas price hotline and report it,"concluded Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales. "Getting real time information is critical to putting a stop to this despicable practice."