First ... If you're not from Atlanta or any other area where about one out of five gas stations is open and the lines are 90 minutes and more, read this story. If you like this kind of stuff you can read this one too. Things are tough, and have been for about six days. Friday morning I was out there at 3:30 a.m. looking for gas for my car. Now after you’ve finished reading about Atlanta’s problems (problems shared with many other Southeastern cities) you can click here to read about how nearly 200 gas stations in Atlanta are being investigated for price gouging. Don’t investigate them! Reward them! Price gouging is exactly what we need! It should be encouraged, not investigated.
OK ... now that you've finished your reading assignments, I shall tell you how to solve this problem QUICKLY. Not painlessly .. but fast.
The real problem now is panic buying. People will run their tanks down by about one-third and then rush off to a gas station. Lines of cars are following gas tanker trucks around Atlanta. The supplies are coming back up, but as long as people insist on keeping every car they own filled to the top and then filling a few gas cans to boot, we're going to have these outages and these absurd lines.
So, how do you stop the panic buying? Easy. You let the market do what the market does best, control demand and supply through the price structure. The demand for gas outstrips the supply right now, so allow gas stations respond by raising the price of gas .. raise it as much as they want. I’m serious here so stop your screaming. The governor should hold a press conference and announce that effective immediately there is no limit on what gas stations can charge for gas. I heard that there was some gas station in the suburbs charging $8.00 a gallon. Great! That’s what they all should be doing. Right now the price of gasoline in Atlanta is artificially low and being held down by government. That’s exacerbating the problem, not helping it. Demand is not being squelched by price.