MIAMI–Speaking to reporters on a cell phone from the hood of his SUV while flood waters closed in around him, local resident Phil Stewart said he was grateful to the Attorney General for cracking down on would-be price gouging by gas stations.*
Stewart said he’d heard horror stories from other hurricanes where residents were forced at stormpoint to pay almost European prices for gas–often $10 per gallon as demand increased and supplies allegedly ran low.
However, thanks to the proactive intervention of Florida’s government, that kind of price gouging has been outlawed and the rules have been strictly enforced. As a result, consumers had to endure some longer lines than normal when the first serious hurricane warnings came out, but they got to fill up at a fair price when it was their turn.
The only problem Floridians ran into is that most of the gas stations unexpectedly ran out of supplies, and some residents, like Stewart, didn’t get there in time to make a purchase.
Stewart was disappointed to see that many gas stations hadn’t been smart enough to plan ahead and have extra supplies on hand to meet demands in a crisis. He would have preferred not to have “a front-row seat” to the latest hurricane, he said. But he thought the system worked pretty well, “It seems fair that the gas goes to people that live closest to the station, obsessively watch The Weather Channel, or have the most flexible work schedule.”
Stewart had to cut the conservation short so he could start climbing a nearby tree and stay above water. But before ending the call, he said he was relieved that the price gouging bans prevented any of his fellow Floridians from being put in a “compromising” position.
*This is a satirical post. The quotes and the individual cited above are fictional.