Friday, November 2, 2012

A Front-Line Report on Gas Shortages

An EPJ reader reports in:
Where I live, on the East End of Long Island, there are severe gas shortages. On my commute to work this morning, I witnessed lines stretching at least half a mile — both ways — outside every gas station that still had gas. Most gas stations, however, are empty. 
As you know, laws against "price gouging" dissuaded sellers from raising prices during and after the storm. As a result, many people were filling up multiple containers with artificially cheap gasoline over the weekend. My feeling is that prices should have doubled in the early stages of the emergency, but the entitled electorate were already raising hell and reporting sellers over very modest increases. These are the same infantile morons who are ready to riot in the streets now that gasoline is near-impossible to purchase. 
And wait, it gets better! After having made it illegal for the price system to ration a dwindling supply of gasoline, the government has stepped in to impose rationing:
Suffolk County has ordered the few gas stations that still have gas to limit customers to filling just one tank per visit and up to an additional 10 gallons of gas for customers without power. 
The county has dispatched police officers to post signs detailing the restrictions at gas stations. 
This storm has crystallized for me just how screwed we are when a real crisis hits. Economic ignorance and political pandering will make a bad situation much, much worse. 
Best regards, 

Free market allocation is the best way. With free market allocation (higher prices), those that need gasoline desperately will be able to find it and buy it. Those that can sit out the temporary higher prices will do so. At government mandated "non-gouging" prices, every Tom, Dick and Harry is filling up his tank for no good reason, making it difficult for those who really need an emergency tank of gas.


  1. we had this problem in central connecticut last year after Irene.

    most of the state had no power for almost 2 weeks. There was no gas, food, or heat. people were driving 2+ hours out of state to get gas and fill up containers to power their generators (if there was any left). once a gas station would open word would get out instantly and thered be a line over a mile long with 2-4 hour waits, few people ended up getting gas that actually needed it to provide a useful service for the people around them..

    Fema and the state government were useless, while they were handing out disgusting MRE's and stale water, local communities had their high schools open with hot meals, juice, showers, and power outlets.

    by the time the state brought in debris removal crews everything had already been cleared out by neighbors and their chainsaws. you could get your entire yard cleared out and brought to the landfill for 20 bucks, everyone with a chainsaw started a weekend business.. of course this didnt happen immediately, the demand for cleanup removal was there, but the supply of gas wasnt..

    so when i said that the people who actually needed the gas couldnt get it, im talking about the neighborhood chainsaw guy out there trying to provide a service people needed, im talking about the people with generators trying to cook a hot meal, provide a hot shower, and some warm shelter for their family, friends, and neighbors.. had more of the right people had the gas they needed, the state wouldnt have wasted millions on unneeded and mostly unused cleanup crews and MRE's...

  2. Imagine what it will be like when the dollar suddenly loses 90% of its value overnight. The first rumblings of that catastrophe are obvious, even though (unlike obvious natural disasters, the media won't report it) the majority are blind.

    Keeping 6 weeks of gas, food, water, etc. is CRAZY.

    1. Dale wrote, "Imagine what it will be like when the dollar suddenly loses 90% of its value overnight."

      Parts of it might be great... like the quiet of a huge snowfall. And the grind of The machine slows or halts? The hum of private machines growing. It'll be... It could be fantastic. But then again we are still in the middle of a slow-motion train wreck, aren't we?