Gas gougers charge $30 a gallon post-Sandy

Complain if you will about the price of gas here, but it could be worse: You could be in the Northeast, where Superstorm Sandy has prompted gougers to take full advantage of the situation.

Drivers needing fuel but unwilling or unable to sit through long gas station lines there have turned to Craigslist as an option.

Convenient, perhaps. But at a  price.

Prices have been reported as high as $30 a gallon, according to CNN/ which noted that the average cost of a gallon of gas is $3.96 in New York and $3.62 in New Jersey.

Rationalized one seller in Brooklyn:  “Why wait five  hours for gas?” He was selling it at $15 a gallon.

The report notes that, “attorneys general in New York and New Jersey have warned sellers against excessive price gouging, which is illegal in both states. The officials say they’ve received hundreds of complaints about high prices for gas and other essentials in the aftermath of the storm, and have vowed to investigate.”

9 comments Add your comment


November 7th, 2012
12:05 pm

I’m pretty sure you can charge whatever you want if you resell something on Craigslist, since that is a second hand private market.
That being said, fuel is a controlled substance – try to sell marijuana on Craigslist in Colorado. And if it sold in Jersey, a regulated State employee must dispense it.


November 7th, 2012
2:15 pm

Obama will take care of the NJ/NY people…
Good luck to them….

Silver Creek Dawg

November 7th, 2012
2:43 pm

No such thing as price gouging in a truly free market. It’s called supply and demand.

The Unmutable law of Economics

November 8th, 2012
10:18 am

There are shortages, there are demands. Local supplies are diminished so the cost of replenishing them will be much higher. In order for someone to travel the longer distance to bring gasoline to the area it will cost them more. When the government arbitrarily decides (mostly to buy votes) to stop sellers from charging more for the item, those who must incur higher costs to supply the product WILL NOT COME. Would you? Additionally, when a limited supply is forced to be at the lower cost, everyone gets in line to buy some – even those with no real need. Everyone fills up their tanks at the lower cost and then those who are desperately in need (and willing to pay more), have none. If the price doubles, those who have a serious need will be willing to pay the higher prices while those with no serious need will wait until prices correct themselves and supplies return to normal.

Everyone has an emotional response to this because the media and the government have convinced you that the law of economics somehow doesn’t apply when there is a disaster. Meanwhile, NJ, NY, and other affected areas STILL have gas shortages, food shortages, etc. because of THEIR stupid laws that prevent and even disincentivize businesses from going the extra miles to supply much needed items.

The govenrment is a failure at everything it does. No matter how much you cry, complain, or how many emotional buttons you push, you cannot change the law of economics. Supply, demand, and price can only come to equilibrium if you allow the market to work in the absence of interference. There would already be ample supply and vastly reduced lines (and likely much lower prices) if govenrment had just gotten out of the way and allowed prices to do as they will. Fairy tales just don’t apply in the real world, no matter how much you want to love government.


November 8th, 2012
3:48 pm

As an extension of what Unmutable wrote: suppose that an enterprising arbitrager in Oklahoma hires his own tank truck for $5,000, a driver for another $1,000 and purchases a truck full locally, and dispatches it to sell for $10/gallon in New York, hoping to make a profit of say, $2,500 for his efforts. Suppose also that as the truck arrives in New York the electricity comes back on and flows freely for $3.80 a gallon (the free market Obama norm). Anyone going to pay $10/gallon for the Oklahoma gas? Arbitragers get rewards for risks, and by moving goods tend to bring supply and prices in line with demand, if our betters just get out of the way.


November 8th, 2012
5:06 pm

Lexi and Unmute… And let’s go further. Let’s say a hurricane is on the way to Florida. A family of six packs up in the minivan and the family drives north to Valdosta. Rooms are cheap so they book three rooms thus, crowding out other families who need shelter. Conversely, rooms are $400 a night and they all cram into one thus providing shelter. Yes, the very simple law of supply, demand, and risk rewards. Very sad that the sheelple of America don’t understand this. They did vote in force earlier this week however.


November 11th, 2012
6:17 pm

Anti gouging laws are just plain stupid. Economy 101 here people.


November 11th, 2012
10:20 pm

Unmutable…great post!


November 12th, 2012
10:29 pm

Great posts on supply/demand.