A woman pumps gas into her vehicle at the Speedway...

A woman pumps gas into her vehicle at the Speedway gas station where it was $4.59 a gallon for regular gas at the Montauk Highway location in Quogue on Monday. Credit: James Carbone

As gasoline prices hit record levels on Long Island, state Attorney General Letitia James is reminding New Yorkers to be on alert against potential price gouging by oil companies and gas stations.

Gas prices are expected to soar even higher this week and potentially reach $5 a gallon soon, as uncertainty over the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues and consumer demand for fuel increases.

President Joe Biden also announced Tuesday that he would ban imports of Russian oil, natural gas and coal, likely spurring gas and home heating oil prices even higher.

"President Biden is taking critical and necessary action to hold Russia accountable for this unprovoked invasion that has claimed thousands of Ukrainian lives," James said Tuesday. "This newest round of sanctions could impact New Yorkers, so we are reminding companies that price gouging is illegal and ensuring that consumers take precautions to protect themselves and their wallets."

AAA said Long Island hit a record high Tuesday at $4.35 per gallon — the highest average gasoline price in the history of the group's fuel gauge report.

Long Island’s previous all-time high was $4.346 on July 8, 2008, said Robert Sinclair Jr., spokesman in the Garden City office of AAA Northeast.

The price of gasoline on Long Island typically runs 20 to 25 cents higher than the national average, experts said.

While consumers should anticipate steep price increases and continued market disruptions, James warned oil companies and gas stations against taking advantage of the system and engaging in illegal price gouging.

State law prohibits sellers of fuel and other necessary products from charging excessive prices during an abnormal market disruption, including those sparked by world conflicts.

For example, the AG's office said if area gas stations are all charging $4 or $5 per gallon for gas and one station is charging $7, that would constitute price gouging.

Consumers who experience dramatic increases in the price of gasoline or fuel should report these incidents to the office of the attorney general.

"Anyone who has experienced issues relating the price gouging of fuel should contact my office, and we will continue to do everything in our power to protect consumers," James said.

Consumers reporting cases of price gouging will be expected to provide details about the dates, location, type of fuel being sold and specific price increases they witnessed, along with copies of any sales receipts or photos of the advertised prices, the attorney general's office said.

James also recommends buying only as much fuel as needed and not to stock up out of fear of a potential future shortage.

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