Whether the current gas crisis was real or manufactured, a hue and cry will rise from citizens and politicians alike that “something must be done” to prevent price gouging by gas stations.
While I don’t like paying $3 a gallon any more than the next person, I do not begrudge the proprietor for making every dime he can, while he can. When the Circle K is out of gas, nobody shops there, meaning the store is not selling Thirst Busters or other goods. Thus, part of the “gouging” that people complain about is actually an owner trying to recoup lost revenue. So let’s not blame the gas station.
Blame the politicians.
I find it incredibly stupid that there are only two pipelines coming into the Valley and that Phoenix is the only city in the U.S. to use the special formulation that we do. Even California has eliminated MBTE from their gas because of its carcinogenic properties.
So why are people surprised that prices skyrocket for a product that only a handful of places produce≠
If politicians really wanted to help, they’d get the heck out of the way. Let companies compete for another pipeline. Eliminate the stupid gas formulation, which holds us hostage to the laws of supply and demand. Let the true free market reign, unfettered, and this won’t be a problem.
Instead, policy makers will pass (or attempt to pass) laws that prohibit a business person from trying to recoup economic losses caused by the same government trying to control him.
Why doesn’t this surprise me≠