Schumer calls for gas price ‘gouge watch’ after hurricanes

Schumer calls for gas price ‘gouge watch’ after hurricanes
© Getty

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is asking federal regulators to examine why gasoline prices have been slow to fall following two massive hurricanes.

Schumer on Sunday asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to watch for gasoline price gouging, which he said could contribute to high gasoline prices in his state after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Harvey, which barreled through an oil production and refining center in the Gulf of Mexico last month, brought a surge in gasoline prices. With refineries offline, prices are now $0.33 higher than they were before the storm, according to AAA. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Schumer said the FTC should consider why “short-term disruptions” like the storm have had a lingering impact on prices at the pump.

“Gas prices should come back down to earth just as fast as they went up, but right now, my worry is they will not fall as fast as they should,” he said in a statement.

“That is why I am asking the FTC to launch a ‘gouge watch’ with oil producers, transporters and refiners alike.”

Prices have fluctuated in different regions of the country since Texas and Louisiana refineries have come back online. AAA reported Monday that drivers in 45 states are paying less for gasoline this week than last. In some Midwestern states, prices fell by double digits.

But New York, where the average price of gasoline is $2.81 per gallon, still has some of the highest prices in the country.

Analysts said earlier this month that it could take several weeks for prices to return to normal following the storms.