Way to go

Ridiculous.

The state has subpoenaed financial records from a handful of gas stations after hundreds of residents called to complain about price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

The Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs has asked for sales records from about 15 businesses statewide, deputy administrator Ann Infinger said Thursday. She declined to say where the gas stations are located because they still are under investigation.

14 comments

  1. Old Vet says:

    It appears that Georgians are only conservative until their ox is being gored. The Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs was flooded with complaints about “price gouging” with demands that our (conservative) Governor punish the “wrong doers”.
    In reality, it is a freeze on mark-up that takes place at the moment the Gov declares a “state of emergency” and is measured from the moment just prior to that time. (In this case, the only “emergency” the state faced was an increase in gas prices caused by a media fueled run on the gas stations in the metro Atlanta area – the old supply and demand thing.) Unintended consequences: Not surprisingly, merchants now anticipate the declaration of an emergency and raise prices even earlier, thus being “frozen” into a pretty good position!

  2. StevePerkins says:

    I caught part of Sonny’s press announcement on the radio this morning… and wondered how many times one can squeeze, “I’m a free market guy, BUT…” into a single speech.

  3. Jmac says:

    While I don’t agree that ‘price gouging is populist fiction’ it doesn’t seem that price gouging has been going on here. A price bump from $3.95 to $5.15, considering the outyling circumstances, is uncomfortable but expected.

    Had the price jumped to, say, $14.95 in a matter of hours, you might raise some questions … but just a dollar or two doesn’t signal a red flag for me.

  4. ButlerTReynolds says:

    So what if the price when to $14.95 / gallon?

    The term “price gouging” is a misnomer. Such a price could no more be considered “gouging” than the price of anything else at any time! The same principles apply.

    As an economist might point out, **buyers** set the price of an item, not the producers or sellers. If that seems wrong to you, think about it a little more. A particular price means that **someone** has outbid you for an item. Perhaps Sonny should go after the people buying gas at prices more than the gas stations paid for it.

    Instead of talking about “price gouging” we should instead be focusing on “price controls”. Doesn’t Sonny Perdue know that price controls have the same effect in Georgia as they do in Cuba??? They cause shortages!

    Sonny is just a populist redneck demagogue. Perhaps next time he should just stand on the steps of the Capitol and pray for low gas prices.

  5. Different gas stations had different prices. If you don’t like the price of one station go to another.

    I could see there might be a problem in rural areas where there may be only one or two stations. In such a scenario if the price jumped dramatically gouging could be the reason.

    I hope none of these stations accused of gouging are in more populated areas. Gouging simply can’t take place when there’s competition.

  6. RuralDem says:

    Buzz makes a great point.

    Some of y’all need to realize that not every town or county has dozens of gas stations.

    The entire “well if you don’t like the price just go somewhere else” argument really does not work when the all of the gas stations in the county all jack up the price at the same time.

    Sure, if one out of twenty stations in an area has jacked up the price, fine, they’ll simply lose business for raising the price of gas.

    However, when every station in an area raises the price by a dollar or two, it kind of has an impact.

  7. StevePerkins says:

    If a market is small enough that suppliers can artificially inflate prices through collusion with each other, then yeah… you have an argument for anticompetitive behavior. However, when gas goes from $4 to $5 for a few days while a significant chunk of the nation’s refinery infrastructure has been knocked offline, I just don’t see the evidence there that Bob’s Quick Stop and Jimmy Joe’s Gas entered a secret conspiracy with each other to gouge consumers.

  8. We’ve got to see the list of stations being investigated. I will say this, many people have no understanding whatsoever of the law of supply and demand. I imagine most, if not all these complaints would not have been filed if people understood basic economics.

  9. Decaturguy says:

    The Socialist GOP is at it again. When they are not bailing out private companies with public money, they’re telling private companies how much they can charge for the products they sell.

    Can we really even pretend that we’re not a socialist economy anymore? Or do we just not want to provide health insurance for poor people?

  10. IndyInjun says:

    Decatur nailed it.

    You all hate Obama’s $900 billion in new programs but at least he is honest enough to raise taxes to pay.

    Your GOP Fed is up to $900 billion in buying toxic, financial waste worth 10 cents on the dollar with YOUR money to support FRAUD and you resent health insurance for the poor?

    Today your Sec. of Treasury announced that the government will BUY up ALL of the toxic finance to reward Wall Street FRAUDSTERS living in the Hamptons, who NOW can steal INFINITE amounts more and you resent poor folks food stamps.

    The GOP is sodomizing you and has for years and you are too stupid to see it, while your butts are numb from the pounding.

    Think for yourselves for a change.

    Good heavens…….

  11. ecwoodrow says:

    “You all hate Obama’s $900 billion in new programs but at least he is honest enough to raise taxes to pay.”

    According to the Obama camp, they’ll be cutting taxes for most Americans.

    “Your GOP Fed is up to $900 billion in buying toxic, financial waste worth 10 cents on the dollar with YOUR money to support FRAUD and you resent health insurance for the poor?”

    And one of Obama’s economic advisers is former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines, one of those who created the “financial waste” the government is cleaning up.

  12. Game Fan says:

    The oil industry has never been a poster boy for free markets and competition. It’s a sick orgy and the politicians are right in the middle. So quite frankly I’m sick and tired of “conservatives” lining up behind big oil when in reality they’re in bed with the politicians. Real free market advocates like Ludwig von Misses Institute don’t toe the line for big oil. This situation is by no means an indictment of real free markets or competition.

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