by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The governor’s office announces the following:
Price Gouging Law Now in Effect Statewide
Earlier today, Gov. Cooper also signed Executive Order No. 18, declaring an abnormal market disruption for gasoline in North Carolina based on the temporary shutdown of Texas and Louisiana fuel refineries due to Hurricane Harvey. As a result, North Carolina’s price gouging law against overcharging in a time of crisis is now in effect statewide for the next 45 days.
North Carolinians who spot potential gas price gouging may report it to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office at ncdoj.gov or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.
It’s too bad that the governor did not read this blog entry from JLF’s Roy Cordato:
Consider the case of gasoline before and after a hurricane. What is typical in such conditions is that consumers, in anticipation of the hurricane, tend to hoard gasoline by purchasing much more than they will need for any reasonable length of time following the hurricane. If a family owns three cars they may run out and fill all three tanks in addition to possibly filling extra containers in anticipation of shortages in the hurricane’s aftermath. If prices are allowed to rise as the demand increases, this “hoarding” behavior will become increasingly more expensive and therefore discouraged. In other words, the higher price encourages conservation right at the time when it is most needed. This will leave more gasoline in the tanks at the gas stations where it is available for those who really need it both before the hurricane and during it’s immediate aftermath, instead of in the tanks of cars that are sitting in people’s garages or driveways.
Ultimately these higher prices are what prevent shortages and closed gas stations. The higher prices brought about in times of emergency are not about the exploitational greed of businesses but rather about protecting consumers from the hoarding behavior of their fellow citizens. Also, the higher prices help to ration what could turn out to be reduced supplies over time.
And if Gov. Cooper prefers video to text, he might want to pay attention to Duke University’s Michael Munger: