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New York attorney general to investigate Sandy price gouging

New York attorney general to investigate Sandy price gouging
Customers with portable containers wait for gas pumps to open at a service station Saturday in Brooklyn. (Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)

New York Atty. Gen. Eric T. Schneiderman is launching an investigation into price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Sandy after receiving hundreds of recent complaints from consumers paying exorbitant amounts for gasoline, food, batteries and other necessities.

Reports of long lines at gas stations, pumped-up prices for hotel rooms and $10 bottled water have run rampant in the aftermath of the super storm.

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Schneiderman also said that the costs of generators, food and even taxi rides have surged.

The price of a regular gallon of gas is up four cents statewide to $3.97 from last week, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. In New York City, it's up 12 cents to $4.10 a gallon.

New York law prohibits "unconscionably excessive price" during  an "abnormal disruption of the market," according to Schneiderman.

Before Sandy made landfall, the attorney general had issued an open letter to vendors across the state warning them that price inflation of necessary goods and services during a crisis is illegal.

"Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging," he said.

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