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NC gasoline after Harvey: prices up, supplies available

It’s now been a week and a half since catastrophic Hurricane Harvey first made landfall in Texas. Amid the incalculable effects of the storm’s devastating effects on humanity, the storm also caused significant supply disruptions of gasoline, which was discussed here back on Aug. 23.

Gov. Roy Cooper asked Attorney General Josh Stein to investigate “price gouging,” and Stein’s office is soliciting people to snitch on suspected “gougers.”

But Cooper also waived certain size, weight, and registration restrictions on vehicles supplying fuel to North Carolina and sought additional waivers from the federal government.

In the meantime, gasoline prices in North Carolina have risen. They went from about $2.20/gallon pre-storm to around $2.65/gal. at the peak. At 45 cents/gal., that was an increase of around 18 percent in two weeks.

Consumers might dislike it, and that temporary hike alone might’ve struck some people as “gouging.” I am hopeful at this point that the governor and attorney general realized that wasn’t. (Just because someone’s posted price offends someone else’s sensibilities doesn’t make it actionable, even if you buy into the underlying fiction that people are compelled to buy regardless of price.)

Most importantly, there have been no shortages in North Carolina.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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