New York Attorney General Letitia James warned constituents Tuesday “to be on alert for potential price gouging of fuel” following President Biden’s ban on imports of Russian oil.
In response to the pleas of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Biden ordered a ban on Russian oil imports in retaliation for the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Americans will feel pain, too — at the gas pump — Biden acknowledged, declaring, “Defending freedom is going to cost.”
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Although James called Biden’s move a “critical and necessary action” to hold Russia accountable for its actions, she warned that companies might try to take advantage of New Yorkers at a time when prices are already soaring.
The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $4.252 a gallon, according to AAA.
“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,” according to James’ warning notice.
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Per New York law, “sellers of fuel and other vital and necessary goods” are prohibited from “charging unconscionably excessive prices during an abnormal market disruption, including disruptions caused by world conflicts,” according to James’ office.
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The attorney general said her office is working to remind companies that price gouging is illegal, but consumers should take precautions to protect themselves.
James is encouraging New Yorkers to report “dramatic increases in the price of gasoline” to the office of the attorney general.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.