Governor Declares State Of Emergency In Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky’s governor has signed an order declaring a state of emergency and invoking the state’s anti-price gouging law as Hurricane Ike bears down on the Texas coast.
Gov. Steve Beshear signed the order on Friday, saying gas stations started raising fuel prices overnight before the storm made landfall. Beshear signed the order at the request of Attorney General Jack Conway, who said in a letter released Friday that invoking the law now will help prevent predatory pricing.

(Excerpt) Read more at whas11.com

Or it may result in closed pumps in Kentucky. If there is a shortage of fuel, companies that own truckstops and gas stations will send it first to those states where market pricing prevails rather than government price caps.

In some places gas went up to $8 an gal. I won’t judge about why. Gas will go up if the supply is down but how much?

Early yesterday it went up 10% here…I’ve seen places trying to push $4 but they aren’t supposed to go over 10%. We were at 3.50. We are in AR. And about ready to take a road trip on Tues…just when we thought we would catch a little break, hopefully it will come back down by then? maybe…but then that’s probably wishful thinking.:rolleyes:

And I drove to the gas station at lunch yesterday in Baton Rouge and paid $3.55 a gallon. There is some serious price gouging going on aided by media bias. OK, so the largest refinery in the US is in Houston. The second largest refinery is here in Baton Rouge and we didn’t see this kind of dithering a week and a half ago when we were hit by Gustav. Plainly and simply, folks are being had. Thank goodness for the gov. of KY.

Here in NC people are outraged. I have contacted the governors office, the state attorney general and Walter B Jones’ office. I am sick over this.

Prices went from $3.61 to $4.70 overnite. The hurricane wasn’t even there yet. I got off work Friday evening and went to the lowest I could find at $3.78…the gas station down the road was $4.56. If it weren’t for the traffic, I would have told all the drivers in the $4.56 line to go down the road where it is $3.78. I have a Ford Focus…a 10 gallon gas tank. I shouldn’t pay more than $15.00 for a full tank, period.

My co workers that went off base for lunch were reporting long lines and frustrated people trying to buy gas at $4.65. What kind of rip off is that? The gas on base (you can’t buy it if you are not current military or retired military)…shot up .80 cents overnite. This is a slap in the face to our service member families who some are on food stamps. How sad.

I am tired of the song and dance supply and demand. I’m not buying it. What I am buying is “GREED”. There is enough gas in the reserves for this entire country for 60 yrs. And it will work in an emergency such as this. When the oil rigs start going again, we’re off the reserves. Let’s start drilling in Alaska, use our reserves in the meantime. And stop kidding the American public into thinking our entire oil supply comes from the Gulf Coast. We know better. :cool:

I gave my co workers all the phone numbers to our current elected officials and told them to call and keep calling. Please keep in mind when gas goes up so does

food
housing
clothing
utility bills (especially electric)

However…note: the wages haven’t moved.

Something to keep in mind for regular American working folk.

Advice for those who feel their gas station is ripping them off: drive on by. If they’re charging more than the market will bear, they’ll lose money and soon drop their prices. If the demand is there for gas at that price, who are you to complain about how they run their business?

[quote=Julianna]Here in NC people are outraged. I have contacted the governors office, the state attorney general and Walter B Jones’ office. I am sick over this.
[/quote]

Sorry for your frustration, but…

[quote=Julianna]I have a Ford Focus…a 10 gallon gas tank. I shouldn’t pay more than $15.00 for a full tank, period.
[/quote]

For some reason it’s divinely ordained that your gas should be $1.50 a gallon?

[quote=Julianna]My co workers that went off base for lunch were reporting long lines and frustrated people trying to buy gas at $4.65. What kind of rip off is that?
[/quote]

Sounds like a “rip off” people were willing and prepared to pay. In fact, they wanted to do so badly enough to wait in long lines for the privilege. Perhaps the station owner should have charged more, to reduce the risk of running out.

[quote=Julianna]I am tired of the song and dance supply and demand. I’m not buying it. What I am buying is “GREED”
[/quote]

If there’s a chance for a three day hiccup in supply, and I’m a station owner, should I maintain my prices at pre-storm levels, then run dry and not make any money for 2 or 3 days (not to mention not be able to serve my loyal customers during that time)? Or should I raise the prices enough that the supply will last for that period. Those who really need the gas will get it, those who are just topping off their tanks will wait until prices are more reasonable.

[quote=Julianna]Let’s start drilling in Alaska, use our reserves in the meantime.
[/quote]

:confused: We are drilling in Alaska.

There is no reason why gas should not be $1.50 a gallon. It’s funny that 8 yrs ago it was just that. What happened? Not supply and demand. How about a war (I’m still steaming on that one), a hurricane that happened in Louisana, not NC and the rest of the country. I could see if we are benefitting from what what we are producing…but we are not. We buy our oil from other countries. This is a mistake. We need to care of our own while tapping into the reserves and continue to find alternative solutions.

People were lining up willing to pay because the “future” speculators were predicting $5.00 and more a gallon for gas. So $4.56 seemed to be a bargain at the time. This is wrong.

The gas station owner buys his/her gas from a dealer who passes on his/her cost to the gas station owner and then to us. Now back track…past the dealer…you’ll find where the greed is.

With what we have in reserves, we can fill up American gas tanks reasonably until the refineries (which don’t make up the bulk of what America ends up getting) are back on track.

Eastern NC was in a panic yesterday and people were really ticked off. A fuel dealer (seller to many stations) was told (I have no idea by whom) to stop gouging and lowered the price by 30 cents. If I had to make a guess, it would be the Attorney General of NC, Roy Cooper, as his phone was ringing, and still is, off the hook. If America would stop and think, “we the people” elect these folks to look after our best interests…it’s time we reminded them again and again as long as it takes, we are tired of the excuses why gas prices are going up and want it to stop.

Wages are not keeping up. My daughter and her fiancee and my grand daughter are struggling to stay afloat. The gas price rise only adds to the misery as everything else is going to go up that they need to raise their family.

America is tired of the same 'ol same 'ol when it comes to energy.

There are two very big reasons why gas should not be what it was 8 years ago. First, a dollar is not worth what it was 8 years ago. Second, and much more important, the price of oil has risen significantly due mostly to increased demand - much of it in Asia. Without evidence, I simply can’t accept your claim that a hurricane in Louisiana 3 years ago is affecting today’s prices.

[quote=Julianna]People were lining up willing to pay because the “future” speculators were predicting $5.00 and more a gallon for gas. So $4.56 seemed to be a bargain at the time. This is wrong.
[/quote]

Anytime we make a choice to buy or not based on our guess as to a future price, we take a risk. I’ll agree that a market economy works more efficiently when more information is available. If the government wants to regulate that, as they do by requiring clearly posted prices on pumps, or even setting up a website where people can compare prices, fine - although often TV stations will have such sites. But preventing businesses from responding to market conditions is exactly the wrong thing for government to be doing.

The Texas coast only produces 15% of US fuel but what some folks don’t know is that the rest of the US fuel producing refineries are running at about 80% capacity. It boggles the mind as to why the fuel producing plants in the western part Texas and northern Oklahoma can’t easily increase production to keep the Gulf coast fueled while the fuel plants in New Mexico, East Louisiana and Alabama can replace the fuel exported from the Texas coast to the rest of the country. Indeed we are drilling in Alaska, but not enough…and are we benefitting from the current drilling?

It would seem to me, it would be hard to tell what is actually legitimate and what is fraud. If you keep a system that will allow short term panics, it can very easily be abused. If you get enough people abusing it, the industry is going to be riped for something stupid like price control legislation. It would be better to take the risk of going dry for a day or two, unless there really is justification for a huge acute spike in prices regionally, than to risk a chronic micromanaged price control. The problem with supply and demand in the short term crisis that may cause a panic it goes in a state of dysfunction.

There are two very big reasons why gas should not be what it was 8 years ago. First, a dollar is not worth what it was 8 years ago. It wasn’t worth all that much then, either.

No the dollar was strong 8 years ago. The dollar to the euro conversion was $1.15:1, and today it is $.70:1

Your statements are quite vague, so I’m hard-pressed to dispute them. I’m not sure what you mean by the accusation of abuse, and I’m not sure what you mean by legitimate.

Let’s look at something slightly less complex, like plywood. If I want to board up my windows, I’ll head down to the lumber store. I find there are 15 sheets of plywood left, at the normal price of $10 a piece - the store was unable to raise prices because of anti-gouging laws. I really just need 10 sheets to take care of the windows on my house. But since it’s only $10, I go ahead and buy the rest because it wouldn’t hurt to do the windows on the garage, and have a sheet or two left over just in case. I can always use it later. I, and everyone earlier that day who depleted the supply, would probably be a little more discerning if the price were a lot more than usual.

The fellow who rolls into the parking lot as I’m rolling out is simply out of luck, even though he’d be willing to pay $50 a sheet. As the storm approaches ever closer, I’ve heard of cases where people with flatbed trailers of plywood were turned back by authorities - they didn’t want profiteers taking advantage of people.

I don’t see how it’s a virtue to prevent someone from making a little profit, at a cost of people’s houses being destroyed. I would suggest profiteers are exactly what we do want - as many as possible to increase the supply of plywood to the area. If the lumber store thought it could sell sheets for $20 instead of $10, it might have paid workers overtime and shipped plywood from its stores in surrounding states to meet demand. But as it stands, there’s no reason for the store or its competitors to make an extraordinary effort, when the law limits them to a very ordinary reward.

Have you ever been a cat 3 or better hurricane? If you have I am hard pressed to believe that the “profiteers” who are selling plywood at $50 a sheet…and oh, lets not forget ICE at $5.00 a bag. This is not helping the folks who have just been blasted by cat 3 storm. This is GREED. After Hugo, the storm chasers couldn’t wait to get to Charleston to “profit”. But what they found was a mayor Joe Riley and a police Chief Greenberg were not playing around. They urged citizens to call in with license plates and descriptions with people selling ice and other goods for way over their pre-Hugo value. And call we did…

The local fire dept, police depts and sheriffs were the ones passing out the ice to folks. The churches in the area got together and provided water and food to people affected by the storm at no charge. Neighborhoods grilled out on their front lawns and gave food to the telephone, electric and garbage workers. Once the GREED was turned away…the people of Charleston and the tri county area worked together. Mom and Pop gas stations spread the word they could gas folks up for a$10.00 limit until it was gone…for some reason it never ran out.

I really found it dis-heartening when folks “donated” their time and talent to the folks in New Orleans they were turned away by their own government. I still haven’t figured that one out yet.

Gas prices should not rise one bit because of a hurricane. As for the rising demand in Asia…that should not affect me whatsoever…I live in the US. We can have our own energy solutions and not be dependent on anyone.

It seems you can “well afford” what ever comes your way. I am not sure how my mother on SS would fare with $5.00 a gallon gasoline. And now her food costs just went up. It doesn’t matter to you I guess…you can afford the increases. Did her SS go up as a result of the heavy price increases on everything in the last 4 yrs? No. Not even close to what she has to pay out.

Tap the reserves…this will take care of emergencies…and hurricanes are an emergency.

Northern Kentucky
This time yesterday = $3.45 per gallon
9:00AM yesterday = $4.15 per gallon

There are probably good reasons for this but no one believes them. Who could? There have been gas stations around my whole life, and hurricanes my whole life, but this kind of thing has only been around a couple years.

These kind of gas prices will continue to bring appropriate pressure to get a do nothing congress off its can.

No, only cat 1.

[quote=Julianna]If you have I am hard pressed to believe that the “profiteers” who are selling plywood at $50 a sheet…
[/quote]

I don’t think you finished the sentence. You’re hard-pressed to believe that the profiteers what?

[quote=Julianna]and oh, lets not forget ICE at $5.00 a bag. This is not helping the folks who have just been blasted by cat 3 storm. This is GREED. After Hugo, the storm chasers couldn’t wait to get to Charleston to “profit”. But what they found was a mayor Joe Riley and a police Chief Greenberg were not playing around. They urged citizens to call in with license plates and descriptions with people selling ice and other goods for way over their pre-Hugo value. And call we did…
The local fire dept, police depts and sheriffs were the ones passing out the ice to folks. The churches in the area got together and provided water and food to people affected by the storm at no charge. Neighborhoods grilled out on their front lawns and gave food to the telephone, electric and garbage workers. Once the GREED was turned away…the people of Charleston and the tri county area worked together.
[/quote]

This is all heartwarming, but it sounds like you’re making an argument that either
A) Local government and charitable organizations like churches basically could not help people when the private sector was also trying to provide goods and services,
or
B) Local government and charitable organizations were simply more efficient without the efforts of the private sector.

[quote=Julianna]Mom and Pop gas stations spread the word they could gas folks up for a$10.00 limit until it was gone…for some reason it never ran out.
[/quote]

Luckily rationing apparently worked in this case. That was not the case after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. For Katrina in particular, there were stations without gas in surrounding states for several days after the hurricane. I was driving through the area, and was lucky that my tank lasted through the gap in availability. Yes, I would have paid $5 for at least a few gallons of gas, rather than be stuck for who knows how long, possibly sleeping in my car since hotels were all booked.

Unfortunately, many fleeing Rita did not have that option - I’m guessing most stations along the evacuation routes imposed rationing like you described above. Still, with everyone wanting to get a scarce resource at a rate only slightly inflated, the pumps ran dry, cars were stranded, and the abysmal traffic was made even worse.

[quote=Julianna]It seems you can “well afford” what ever comes your way… It doesn’t matter to you I guess…you can afford the increases.
[/quote]

I would be cautious in making assumptions about other members based on the hypothetical examples they provide… we all know what happens when you assume.

As an economist, I recognize that it is difficult to design a policy to deal with shortages better than just letting the price system work. Part of the problem is that it is hard to distinguish the motivation for the higher prices. In many situations, retailers charge higher prices because they are charged higher prices from their suppliers. That doesn’t mean that there is never scope for profiteering, however.

The question I have is: How is it morally justified for a seller to raise his profit rate due to unforseen circumstances? After all, in our business dealings, we will be judged in how we treat the least among us. In this case, the customer has the least bargaining power.

It seems to be similar to my finding a stranded motorist along the highway who has run out of gas. He might be willing to pay $50 for a ride to the nearest gas station, but is it moral for me to take advantage of his misfortune to charge him an artificially high amount?

With the refineries down for the next week to ten days we all need to conserve no matter where we live.

Now that being said the one tried and true way to make sure the demand goes down is the cost. It hits those of us with low or moderate incomes hardest but it works. My family and I will only go to weekday Liturgy one time this week, the guys will go to work, choir practice will be our night out :D. Other trips with the van will be limited to emergency use. The cost makes us not go.

I think that in a case of monopoly power, some government restriction may be in order. But assuming there is competition, I see no problem charging twice as much for fuel or a generator, etc. If people are willing to pay it, that must be its current value. You are being rewarded for extra work, extra smarts, perhaps extra risk in bringing in these supplies, and even for working providing goods and services to the community, when you could be taking care of your own house or family. If you charge too much, people will get disgusted and drive down the street to the competitor. The more competitors out roaming the streets, the better price the public will get, and the quicker they’ll be able to get these scarce supplies.

As an economist, you are well aware that one of the great advantages of this system is that if people don’t get these supplies, it’s because they make a choice not to pay the high price at that time - their need is not great enough to exceed the price. If prices are kept artificially low, many people will also not get the supplies, but often because they had the misfortune of being too late to the store or station, even though their need may be much greater than those who did get it.

[quote=stinkcat]It seems to be similar to my finding a stranded motorist along the highway who has run out of gas. He might be willing to pay $50 for a ride to the nearest gas station, but is it moral for me to take advantage of his misfortune to charge him an artificially high amount?
[/quote]

I think it would be immoral based on the monopoly issue I stated above. It would be reasonable to charge whatever you consider a fair price. That price may be greater if it’s a further distance, or it’s a riskier trip, or the person is going to soil your car (that’s happened to me), or you really need to be attending to other duties.

Alternatively, you could provide the service gratis. This is meritorious, but I don’t think you have an obligation to do this unless the person is in dire straits.

… is what I’m saying.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.