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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
September 1, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
- Kimberly Ricketts, Director

 

Jeff Lamm, Genene Morris
973-504-6327

 

Attorney General Harvey and Consumer Affairs Director Ricketts Monitoring Rise in Gas Prices in New Jersey

NEWARK — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts announced today that they are closely watching gasoline prices in New Jersey to ensure that gas retailers and suppliers do not engage in price fixing or increase their prices unjustifiably to exploit Hurricane Katrina.

“We will not stand by and let our consumers be exploited by profiteers looking to cash in on Hurricane Katrina,” said Acting Governor Richard J. Codey. “It is true that market forces have pushed gasoline prices upward across the nation because of this natural disaster and its impact on supply. But we will take action if we see cases where price fixing or other illegal practices have pushed prices off the chart.”

“If we determine that suppliers or retailers are conspiring to keep prices artificially high, we’ll take legal action to stop it,” said Attorney General Harvey. “Gasoline is a necessity for most New Jersey residents. We will not tolerate businesses that illegally exploit that need and the volatile price situation triggered by this tragic storm in the South.”

Attorney General Harvey and Consumer Affairs Director Ricketts are urging oil companies, suppliers and gasoline retailers to hold the line on gasoline prices as much as possible. Where it appears that businesses are exploiting Hurricane Katrina by charging prices that are unconscionably high and have no reference to their actual costs, the State is prepared to investigate and, where appropriate, take action.

“We are watching gas prices closely,” said Consumer Affairs Director Ricketts. “We urge consumers to contact us if they find a gas station that is charging significantly higher prices than other stations in the area. Meanwhile, we are offering some tips that can help New Jersey consumers save money at the pump.”

The complaint line at the State Weights and Measures office in Avenel will be staffed throughout the Labor Day weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Consumers can contact the complaint line at 732-815-4840 or file complaints via the Consumer Affairs’ web site at www.njconsumeraffairs.org.

Consumer Affairs offered the following tips to New Jersey motorists:

  • Shop around. By looking for the lowest price before you fill your tank, you will save money and promote competition.
  • Car pool and combine trips. Reduce your driving by car pooling or using public transportation. When possible, combine errands or include them in your commute.
  • Slow and steady. Driving slower will reduce the amount of gas you burn. Making use of cruise control and overdrive features on longer trips also helps.
  • Choose an efficient vehicle. When buying a vehicle, pick one that gets good gas mileage. If you have more than one vehicle, drive the most efficient vehicle whenever possible.
  • Keep your car tuned. You can get the best gas mileage from your car by keeping the engine tuned, properly inflating the tires, and replacing your motor oil and air filter regularly as recommended. Use the right grade of oil.
  • Keep your car light and sleek. Remove heavy objects from your trunk and passenger compartment and don’t carry bulky items on the roof unless needed.
  • Buy regular gas. Unless your owner’s manual indicates that you need to use higher octane gasoline, save money by purchasing regular gas.

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