New Jersey accused three oil companies and more than two dozen gasoline stations yesterday of gouging customers after the price of gas soared to more than $3 a gallon after Hurricane Katrina, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. In four lawsuits, the state attorney general accused the oil companies and independent gas station operators of violating the state’s motor fuels and consumer fraud laws. The allegations include raising the price of the fuel more than once within a 24-hour period and forcing consumers to pay unlawful prices for the fuel.
The cases stemmed from widespread complaints from motorists that some dealers were raising gas prices several times a day, with prices soaring 40 to 50 cents or more a gallon. State inspectors visited 400 stations during the last week of August and through the Labor Day weekend. They found more than 100 violations.