Gas can with Dollar bills

(Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

This is how the reacts to shortages: people get creative and offer goods and services in short supply through Craigslist. Here’s what one ad said:

Why wait 5 hours for gas? A couple of extra gallons. $15 each.

Other ads were offering more supplies at prices ranging upwards to $30 a gallon. It’s all a matter of supply and demand. The tradeoff is simple: what’s a fellow’s time worth? Would it make sense to trade hours waiting in line for $30? In a each participant is offered that opportunity to choose. This is how supply shortages end. Entrepreneurs see an opportunity, buy in advance and sell at a higher price. Consumers who didn’t see Sandy coming are given an option they didn’t have before: stand in line OR pay up.

High prices will inevitably increase the supply. That increased supply will bring prices back down. The solution to high prices is high prices.

But no, says the ever-loving freedom hating state. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman knows an evil when he see it, and he’s going to do something about it:

We will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous businesses or individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives. There are always people who show up when there’s a crisis to take advantage of victims of a disaster.

Thank you for that, Eric. Thank goodness that “there are always people” who see an opportunity to satisfy a demand. And people are delighted to have choices that Schneiderman would deny them:

“Everybody is so appreciative that they can even get gas,” said Ryan, 28, a New Yorker who was offering gas for $18 a gallon on Craigslist Monday and declined to give his last name. He said he’d been delivering gas from his truck after a friend transported it into the city from upstate New York, and had been earning between $250 and $300 a day.

“I’m just charging for delivery,” he said. “I think if you can wait in a gas line, you should do it, but some people don’t want to wait. Some people don’t have time to wait.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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