John Stossel

If the politicians do enforce anti-"gouging" rules, it will be akin to capping prices, and we tried that before. It was a disaster. Drivers had to wait in long lines, and some couldn't get any gasoline. Only when price controls were lifted did supplies rush in, and only then did prices go back down.

Markets don't work? That's a myth.

Why did prices spike in recent weeks? It's just supply and demand. Demand is up 3 percent, while supply is up just 1 percent.

And gasoline is still a bargain. Think about what it takes to bring it to us: Drills must bend and dig sideways through as many as seven miles of earth. What they find has to be delivered through long pipelines or transported in monstrously expensive ships, then converted into three different formulas of gasoline, moved in trucks that cost more than $100,000 each, and shipped to gas stations that have to have lots of expensive equipment to make sure we don't blow ourselves up filling the tank. Even after all that, gasoline is still cheaper per ounce than the bottled water gas stations sell.

There's no dirtier word in English than "gouging." But we've had enough unpleasant experience with price controls to know that all they do is create shortages.

Who, but the politician, benefits from that?


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate