As the prices rise, the point will be reached where people will say "I’m fed up with this. I'll ride with a friend, take the bus or just sit home before I'll pay this for a gallon of gas." Once the price of a gallon starts to evoke that kind of reaction, we're on our way to solving the problem. When gas costs, say, $8.00 people aren't going to fill their tanks. They also aren't going to rush home to get their second car and make sure it is filled up either ... and you can forget them filling those portable gas cans they have in the trunk. Some people will only be able to afford maybe five gallons! Fine! That leaves gas in the tanks for other motorists. Bottom line here is that people aren’t going to rush out to fill up their half-empty tanks with $8.00 gas. Instead they’ll buy only what gas is absolutely necessary, and then wait for the prices to come down.
As the price drives people away from the pumps, the tanker trucks will have the opportunity to fill every underground tank at every gas station in the area. Then, when the tanks are all full again, the gas station operators will start looking around wondering where in the world their customers are. One by one they'll start lowering the price of a gallon in order to attract customers back to the pumps. Yup .. it will be time for a good old fashioned gas war. As the prices fall people will come out of their garages and find that they can fill up without waiting and without the station running out. Once they feel that the shortage is gone they’ll resume normal behavior and the prices will come down to pre-shortage levels.
Oh, sure. People will yell and scream about the so-called "price gouging" on the part of the stations. They’ve been taught this by politicians. Pundits … especially those on the left … will start blathering about “greed” and demanding regulations. Pelosi will probably emit a screech or two about windfall profits taxes. The truth is there is nothing inherently wrong with the free market responding to these shortages with the best device known to man for allocating scarce resources. Prices.
Politicians can do all the grandstanding they want ... and work for face time on the television decrying those evil people trying to make a profit off of a scarce resource. That seems to suit them just fine. But if they really want to end this nonsense they'll turn the marketplace loose and get the hell out of the way.
In Honor of His 103rd Birthday, Here Are The 20 Best Quotes From The Late, Great Milton Friedman | John Hawkins