By Joseph Spector, Gannett Albany
State agencies are stepping up their enforcement of potential unfair practices at the gas pumps as fuel costs rise across the nation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
The state has launched a toll-free hotline and website for New Yorkers to report suspected price gouging at gas stations.
Gas prices in the New York City area averaged $4.09 today, up from $3.80 a month ago, according to AAA. In Rochester, the price was $3.96, up from $3.67 a month ago. In Binghamton, it was $3.98, up from $3.68 a month ago.
"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 said in a statement. "While market forces are usually the cause of these price increases, we taking action to protect consumers from any unfair and illegal practices during this time."
New Yorkers can report unusual increases in gas prices by calling the state's hotline at (800) 214-4372.
The state Division of Consumer Protection has created an online consumer complaint form and tips to save at the pump at: http://www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection/consumer_resources/gas_gouging.html.
Cuomo said in a news release that gas prices in New York increases 5.6 percent between January 2 and last week. Over the past week, he said, the national average retail price increase nearly $0.13 a gallon, or by 3.5 percent. The increase was less in New York, where it went up $0.05 a gallon, or 1.3 percent.