Protected from Price Gouging, Texans Fight Over Dwindling Supplies

The government and media are equating price gouging with looting, and Texans are running out of gas.

This news story basically treats price gouging and looting as morally equal.

It should surprise no one that parts of Texas are experiencing shortages. When disaster strikes, people instinctively want to stock up. Apart from government threats, this drives up the price. The higher price incentivizes consumers to not buy and hoard as much. It also attracts other suppliers, motivating them to divert resources to the locations where the price is high. This, in turn, is the fastest way to get prices to drop.

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But instead the government punishes and vilifies price gouging.

The San Antonio Express News reports, “Shouting matches punctuate growing lines at San Antonio gas stations, more than 100 now without fuel.

As lines get longer at gas stations across San Antonio, tempers seem to be getting shorter.

At several gas stations, frustrated drivers have gotten out of their cars to yell at each other. At one, a woman physically planted herself in front of a car to prevent it from cutting the line while another woman screamed at a car that had managed to sneak in.

GasBuddy, a gas price tracking firm, reports 270 stations in San Antonio were without fuel after 9:30 p.m., up from seven at 1 p.m.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg sought to calm the panic Thursday afternoon, reminding residents there was no widespread gasoline shortage but rather a delay in fuel production.

“San Antonio, there is no gas shortage,” Nirenberg said. “As the result of delayed refinery operations caused by Hurricane Harvey, some stations have run low on gas.”

He urged San Antonians to not be “misled by social media, which is causing people to panic and purchase more gas than necessary,” and asked drivers to purchase gas as they normally would.

Right, because we all know politicians trying to calm us down are more reliable than social media.


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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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