The Locker Room

September 1, 2005

It's time for some price gouging

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 7:29 PM

Shortages of gasoline are developing in North Carolina. I just passed a station where I saw people filling several gasoline cans in addition to their car tanks. My best guess is that this is occuring because gasoline is under priced, that's right under priced. And it is under priced because gas station owners are in fear of being charged with "price gouging." North Carolina has price controls on gasoline--that is, laws against so-called price gouging. The best thing the Governor can do right now to avoid shortages is to lift NC's price controls on gasoline. Indeed every state in the union should be doing the same thing. High prices in a situation like this are not about greedy gas station owners, they are about protecting society from greedy consumers. The higher the cost of hording the less of it will take place. Now more than ever we need price gougers.

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Disaster proclamation

Posted by Jon Ham at 2:57 PM

New Orleans officials would probably look at this mayoral proclamation, issued after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and wish for simpler and less-nuanced times.

(Hat tip:  The Corner)

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Re: No truth

Posted by Paul Chesser at 2:18 PM

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said almost 20 percent of the city's gas stations were closed this morning. Probably higher now.

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Re: No truth

Posted by Paul Chesser at 2:08 PM

Looks like a lot of gas stations aren't waiting until Thursday to close.

Supposedly the pipelines, as Hal said, are at least partially reopening.

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Walter Jones says he didn't call

Posted by Jon Ham at 1:43 PM

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones says he didn't call Cindy Sheehan, as the anti-war protestor claimed on her blog site. Sen. Chuck Hagel has also denied that he ever called Sheehan. Wonder how many people on that list will eventually disavow any contact with her.

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No truth

Posted by Hal Young at 1:07 PM


Officials with the Office of the Governor tell WRAL that there is NO TRUTH to rumors circulating that gas stations across the state will close on Thursday.

Interesting, I hadn't heard that one yet. The highlighting is WRAL's btw.

So in other words, no FDR-style "bank holiday". The word nowis that the pipelines are starting back up so "fumes" are on the way.

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Re: Monopolists against Mu-Fi

Posted by Hal Young at 12:09 AM

According to this press release, Raleigh has installed a Wi-Fi cloud over the construction area on Fayetteville Street. I have attempted to log on from the plaza in front of the Convention Center but even though a reviewer rated it "six body piercings" on a scale of seven, the signal wasn't strong enough for me to connect.

Maybe the Sheraton's pay-as-you-go hotspot was too strong for it?

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Markets, Commons and Katrina

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 12:03 AM

The front page of today's Financial Times tells the story of four-year-old Jason Clarke, who was staying at a shelter in Gulfport, Mississipi, with his mother. The shelter has no fuel for its generator and has already experienced the tragedy of the commons--it is out of water or any other drinkable liquid. Jason's mother was able to procure a bottle of orange juice "from a black marketeer hawking bottles of Gatorade sports drink for $5 a bottle."

A charter boat operator helped "Ms Clarke change a tyre [Brit] on her car so she can escape the shelter." 

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Lip service power vs market power

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 11:45 AM

Now which is more likely to get people to conserve gasoline., Governor Easley urging people to drive less, or a high price of say $4.00 per gallon for gasoline? This news item appears on the web page of WFMY channel 2 in Greensboro. It explains how the Gov. is calling on the citizens of North Carolina to conserve on gasoline and ends with AG (I think that stands for aspiring governor) Roy Cooper calling on those same citizens to turn in gas stations that are "price gouging" (a term with no meaning in economics). Nothing like telling people that shortages may be coming and then outlawing the market mechanism that would prevent them.

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Sanders gas update

Posted by Chad Adams at 11:40 AM

Sam's club on South Saunders... $2.789 gal for Premium.. They are out of regular

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Gas price watch the panic's over now, I hope

Posted by Jon Sanders at 10:40 AM

On this morning's commute, I noticed that almost every station had settled for $2.99/gal for regular unleaded. Two exceptions I saw: Raceway, at $2.89, and the Exxon (which I have been calling "Citgo" because that's what the station used to be for years) across the street at $3.29. I saw short lines at the Raceway and no one at the Exxon.

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Already it begins

Posted by Jon Ham at 09:44 AM

Former Clintonista Sidney Blumenthal has put out the main lefty talking point regarding Hurricane Katrina: It's Bush's fault because he cut the Corps of Engineers' budget. To show how quickly the left latches on to and spreads these talking points, The Carolinian's Cash Michaels dutifully quoted Blumenthal on WPTF this morning only hours after Blumenthal filed his piece. Here's Blumenthal's main point:

A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken.

Oooo-Kay. So if Bush had allowed the Corps to begin its study a year ago, then this could have been prevented? How daft do you have to be to believe that? They've been working on I-85 in Durham for 10 years and they're still not finished. Do Blumenthal and Michaels actually believe below-sea-level New Orleans could have been protected from the wrath of a Cat 4 hurricane in a year? Another question for Sidney: If this was so important, why didn't the Clinton Administration address it in its eight years in office?

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Monopolists Against Mu-Fi

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 09:08 AM

Andy Kessler explains the dilemma he faces: whether to cheer against the city of Philadelphia or the telecom giant Verizon in the current battle over WiFi for everyone. He explains that cities have numerous advantages over private companies (including eminent domain) and that running a MuFi (municipal WiFi) network can save Philadelphia a million dollars a year. The tentacles of North Carolina towns from forced annexation might limit the cost advantages here. Small-scale projects have not been as well-received.

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WOW! Not yet here. . .

Posted by Chad Adams at 08:38 AM

Hal, No gloating here. And it's 58.7mpg on this tank. I'll eventually have to fill it up again.

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Blame the unrelenting public education testing

Posted by Paul Chesser at 08:16 AM

In a Washington Post article about the mess the Superdome has become, a woman explained why she stayed in New Orleans as Katrina approached:

Rochelle Montrel, dedicated middle school teacher, thought she should stay in town to prepare for the first day of classes. "We have all this testing now, earlier and earlier," she said Wednesday, "and I wanted to be ready."

Instead, she spent Monday clinging to her roof, and that turned to Tuesday, and then "the wonderful man" in the helicopter finally swooped in, after 24 hours, and delivered Montrel, her mother, father, sister and the poodle onto the ramp outside the Superdome. They had lived.

By the way, the "poo corner" in the story is not a Disney cartoon. I wonder if the rich refugees got the luxury boxes?

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Vortex of stupidity

Posted by Jon Ham at 07:54 AM

John Kennedy Toole, in his hilarious novel A Confederacy of Dunces, called Baton Rouge a "vortex of despair." After listening to NPR's resident poet Andrei Codrescu, a Baton Rouge resident, comment on Hurricane Katrina, I think "vortex of stupidity" is more apt. He laid the disaster entirely at the feet of "global warming":

Pay attention global warming deniers! This is the real thing.

For a better take on how shameful the environuts are in trying to exploit this disaster, read James Glassman's column from yesterday.

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Re: Wheeeeeeee

Posted by Hal Young at 05:57 AM

Around lunchtime yesterday I heard AP radio news announcing, with some amazement, that a gas station in Richmond had raised their prices forty cents a gallon, imagine that.

On my commute home, though, I noted the station where I had hedged at $2.52 Monday evening was up to $2.99, an increase of forty-seven. And closer to home, the Citgo at the Neuse River bridge had marked up from $2.59 Tuesday night to the same $2.99 level. Take that, AP.

The best available in Smithfield seems to be the $2.69 posted at Ideal on US 70, Trade Mart on south US 301, and TM's competitor across the road -- itself twenty cents higher than the start of the week.

Even then, none of them offer pay-at-the-pump, which feature gets me a 5% discount courtesy a AAA credit card. As I told my wife, at $2.69, a thirteen-cent discount (especially on a twenty-two gallon tank) makes a difference.

I notice Chad is very nicely not gloating about his 50 mpg whatchamacallit that turns itself off at stop lights. I had a car that did that once but it wasn't a design feature.

UPDATE: Scratch Ideal. They were up to $2.99 this morning, too. The cheapest seen on the morning drive today was Wilco at $2.95.

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