The Locker Room

Georgia and North Carolina both have price-gouging laws ...

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:55 AM

... and politicians in both states are feeling frustration because of "long lines at gas pumps" and a situation in which "gas supplies remain low three weeks after Hurricane Ike disrupted the north-south pipeline from Gulf Coast refineries."

Roy Cordato would not be surprised:

Consumers can blame North Carolina's price-gouging law for the gas lines and shortages appearing in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

"Gas station owners are afraid to raise prices in light of threats of prosecution from state government. Because those owners refuse to raise prices, consumers continue to flock to the pumps, and the stations run the risk of running out of gas."

The current problem with shortages and gas lines is far different from the situation that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Cordato said. "North Carolina had no problems with shortages or long lines at the gas pumps after Katrina because the price system was able to work," Cordato said. "The only difference between 2005 and 2008 is the new version of the state's price-gouging law."

"It's against the law charge 'too much' for gas -- whatever the government decides 'too much' means -- but it's not against the law to run out of gas and shut down your pumps," Cordato added. "Faced with that choice, why would a gas station owner take the risk of running afoul of this arbitrary law?"

I'm guessing Roy hates to read that the same politicans who caused the problems "are making judgment calls about how much government should respond."

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