Fair price control

By Thomas Macauley on

I have not heard about “price gouging” by gasoline vendors in Sandra’s wake.

Is it because rather than raising gasoline prices, vendors are letting fuel sell out? They could be nice guys or maybe they are avoiding law suits, accusation, and prosecution.

Letting gasoline supply run out this way is not likely to assure fair or frugal allocation or reliable re-supply. Giving first dibs to first-responders does not settle the issue, either.

My idea is to cap the first-gallon price in a crisis. One gallon would be enough to drive out of town, to reach the next fuel supply, to power a generator for a day, to trade for a few meals.

Require each vendor to sell their first gallon at a pre-crisis rates. After this gallon let the market determine the price.

Allocation in the emergency would be closer to the need.
Lines would be shorter.
Gougers would get their extra cash to fund special delivery re-supply.

I thoughtof this at least as far back as Katrina. Can I get a patent?

6 comments

  1. as posted to facebook:

    Vs Rationing:
    NY and NJ are playing with rationing and free fuel plans. Apparently this is because legal and semi-legal means prevent the suppliers from allocate fuel based on price.

    In these emergencies a better use of the executive order would be to cap the first-gallon price and allow ad-hoc sales and resales. One gallon to get out of town or to the next station or to run a generator for a day.

    I wonder if NJ during this emergency still prohibits pumping of fuel by anyone but station attendants. ‘Probably still only legal to sell from stationary underground tanks… except for National Guard special (free/chaotic) deliveries.

    Let the gougers and the hoarders have their play and risk with the second-gallon sales. A lot of fuel trucks would divert to the area to supply fuel if there was a profit to be made. ‘Would not have to rely on a few Guard trucks.

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