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Lessons from Sandy: How to avoid price gouging on gas

Lessons from Sandy: How to avoid price gouging on gas

Jacking up prices after an emergency is not acceptable. That’s the message New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent to gas station owners this week, six months after Superstorm Sandy struck.

Price gouging was common in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, according to a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. The survey asked Consumer Reports subscribers in the region if they had experienced price gouging on gasoline following the storm; 28 percent said they had.

Consumers have little recourse against station owners who jack up prices following a natural disaster. No one wants to run out of gas, and the supply, demand, and capitalist forces can run amok. That’s why the New York attorney general is prosecuting four more station owners, after reaching settlements worth nearly $168,000 with 25 others.

To learn about saving gas, visit our guide to fuel economy.

Our advice is to make sure you top off before a major storm arrives or when there’s one in the forecast. Even a simple power outage can disrupt fuel availability and/or require evacuation, particular in a hot summer or frigid winter. Also consider filling the gas cans usually reserved for lawn mowers, etc.

For those looking to maximize their one-tank options, we’ve found several new cars that offer a cruising range of more than 600 miles without refueling, including the Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel, the Toyota Camry and Avalon Hybrids, and the Lexus ES 300h hybrid. If you live in a region affected by storms and need a new car, any of these models can get you well out of a storm-damaged area, or provide plenty of fuel for days of driving around if you decide to stay. As long as you remember to fill up ahead of time.

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