Gouged at the pump?

Gouged at the pump?-attachment0

As a frenzy of gas purchases drains local supplies and prices are purportedly spiking, the Asheville Police Department today issued a statement on how to report gas gouging to the proper state authorities.

The full statement is below.

— Jon Elliston, managing editor

———————————————————————————

For Immediate Release
Sept. 12, 2008
Asheville Police Department
Contact: Capt. Daryl Fisher
Phone: 828-259-5994
E-mail: dfisher@ashevillenc.gov

APD offers information on reporting gas gouging

ASHEVILLE – Asheville police have received several calls today regarding alleged gas gouging by stations in the city.

The department is therefore directing the public to the agency that can assist in this matter—the office of state Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Gov. Mike Easley today declared a state of “abnormal market disruption” and signed an order allowing the attorney general to enforce the state’s anti-gouging law.

Attorney General Cooper said today that the law applies to all levels of the fuel supply chain. He said his office is ready to take consumer complaints.

Those who want to report possible price gouging should contact:

N.C. Attorney General’s Office
Consumer Protection Division
Phone: 877-566-7226

The attorney general can sue merchants if state officials find that gas stations have excessively inflated prices.

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

76 thoughts on “Gouged at the pump?

  1. Ike disrupts gas flow in WNC
    Asheville Citizen-Times | September 13, 2008
    http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200880912147

    ["Easley said consumers should not be seeing prices increase much more than 20 cents per gallon."]

    How does a government official know what the price of gasoline should be?

    [“'The run on gas is creating a crisis before there is a crisis,' AAA spokeswoman Carol Gifford said."]

    This is exactly correct. Panic is making a temporary resource shortage worse and is causing pumps to dry up.

    The price should be able to fluctuate freely to direct these resources to where they are most needed. “Price gouging” laws are exactly the wrong thing to do.

    The gas stations that are running out of gasoline did not raise their prices high enough. Why? The natural economy is now against the law.

    Sorry fire trucks, ambulances, police, construction and public transportation. We ran out of gas because the prices were too low. What caused prices to remain lower than they would in a natural economy: the government.

    Thanks, all-knowing government for once again interfering in the marketplace and once again getting it wrong.

  2. Tim Peck is exactly correct in his situation.

    A market cannot be called a Free Market if the government continually interferes in it. Governor Easley is guilty of using government force to install a bit more of Socialism in our lives.

    He would cause more damage than the temporary panic.

    Leave us alone, and let the idiots panic.

    I made a video of the panic I witnessed in Sylva on Thursday evening:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvfjU6sQUOw

    The best thing anyone can do if people make a run on the gas stations (besides laughing at the idiots) is to go about your business as usual…although you might want to conserve your own fuel if the infestation of idiots is high in your area.

  3. zen

    Unbridled capitalism allows the greedy to get powerfully manipulative. I have no problem with the government trying to find a balance.

  4. travelah

    It would seem that some folks favor price gouging. However, my inquiry was into what was wrong with the post rather than what was wrong with Tom Peck’s logic.

  5. straightup

    i have to agree with Tim even though i had to buy a half a tank yesterday to get to SC today. 9pm last night i was able to find gas. $5 a gallon. But i was thinking about the frenzy going on and how medical vehicles etc. would perform if there were nothing for them. If you know a place that is gouging. Don’t give them your business. These stations would feel that if we all practiced it. Also it seems like it would be difficult to prove this. i don’t think Raleigh is going to sent a team of folks up here to take care of offenders.
    Probably a good weekend to conserve if you can.

  6. Unbridled capitaism gave you your iPod, Camera, and the advertising dollars that support this newspaper (and parallel website).

    Unbridled capitalism allows mankind to find ever cheaper ways to offer a standard of living never achievable by Socialism, Communism, Progressivism, Marxism or any other “ism” you can name.

    Onerous government regulation acts as a choke-collar on advancement and progress.

  7. tatuaje

    Unbridled capitaism gave you your iPod, Camera, and the advertising dollars that support this newspaper (and parallel website).

    As well as climate change, Superfund sites, the Exxon Valdeze, Donald Trump, mercury and lead laced toys, the prison-industrial complex, the military-industrial complex, DDT, Wal-Mart, asbestos, economic and cultural exploitation, imperialist, colonialist and counter-revolutionary wars, repressions of workers and trade unionists, genocides, massacres, and so on….

    Onerous government regulation acts as a choke-collar on advancement and progress.

    Capitalism requires continual economic growth, and will inevitably deplete the finite natural resources of the earth, and other broadly utilized resources. Capitalist production passes on environmental costs to all of society, and is unable to adequately mitigate its impact upon ecosystems and the biosphere at large.

    Advancement & Progress! Consequences be damned!

  8. tatuaje:

    Climate Change? to save space, I’ll refer you to this comment I left at Ed Cone’s blog this morning..
    http://edcone.typepad.com/wordup/2008/09/propaganda.html#comment-130519312

    A drunk skipper is due to capitalism? WoW…makes about as much sense as anything else on your list.
    DDT is good…and brought across the border by many a Mexican Landscaper.

    Yes, it is good that captitalism requires growth…because stagnation is so Middle Ages don’t you think?

    This “oil shortage” is a manufactured shortage to shore up prices…even OPEC is looking to cut production to stop the bursting oil price bubble.

    In the Bakken Formation alone, we have at least 3 TRILLION barrels of recoverable oil (maybe more with new technology and good old-fashioned American ingenuity).
    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911

    And there are dozens more of sources of oil and coal as big…or bigger in the USA alone.

    The resouces of this planet are finite, but more than we could use in ten millenia (that’s 10,000 years for those of you in Rio Linda).
    The mass of the earth is around 5,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons and over 121 billion cubic miles. There ain’t no way we are using that up in a looong time.

    And just think what we will be able to achieve once we spread out into space and get at the Asteroid and Kuiper Belts…not to mention the Oort Cloud!!! We have a Universe just chuck full of resources.

    The future advancement of mankind is beyond our wildest dreams!!!

  9. tatuaje

    Wow, TP, I had grown accustomed to a higher level of discourse from you…. You kind of dealt with 3 things in my list….Kind of…

    DDT is good

    I’m guessing that’s some kind of joke…

    Knew someone was going to jump on climate change…How about National Geographic? Pretty respected organization for over a hundred years.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1206_041206_global_warming.html

    And read about what The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had to say:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070202-global-warming.html

    You know, it’s just the IPCC…The report, based on the work of some 2,500 scientists in more than 130 countries, concluded that humans have caused all or most of the current planetary warming. .

    I won’t even get into how the current administration has tried to silence its own scientists from speaking about climate change for the past 7 years…

    http://www.democracynow.org/2008/3/21/censoring_science_inside_the_political_attack

    The resouces of this planet are finite, but more than we could use in ten millenia (that’s 10,000 years for those of you in Rio Linda).

    You are neglecting to talk about not only exponential population growth, but the effects of pollution as well. And it’s not just oil, but water, air….

    The mass of the earth is around 5,800,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons and over 121 billion cubic miles. There ain’t no way we are using that up in a looong time.

    You’ve got this mental picture of using up the resources of earth like its a bag of potato chips. So much more complex than that.

    “See, I’ve only eaten half the bag of chips…I’ll let someone else worry about it when they’re almost gone…It’s a big bag of chips after all, that won’t happen for a while.”

    Come on TP, you’ve proven yourself to have a more nuanced and analytical mind many times before…

    Yes, it is good that captitalism requires growth…because stagnation is so Middle Ages don’t you think?

    But is it just so simple as that? Growth or no growth? Isn’t there room for something along the lines of conscious growth? Something that includes care and compassion for people and the planet?

    And just think what we will be able to achieve once we spread out into space and get at the Asteroid and Kuiper Belts…not to mention the Oort Cloud!!! We have a Universe just chuck full of resources.

    Yes, that’s the spirit! Manifest Destiny on a universal level! Maybe there’s some sort of different life form that we can subjugate and destroy like the Native Americans! Yay! Death and Destruction in the name of profit is FUN!

  10. tatuaje

    All I was trying to do in my original post was to point out some of the negative outcomes of unbridled capitalism…To think or portray that our shiny toys and wealth have come without a hefty price is disingenuous to say the least…

  11. travelah

    actually, DDT was good … millions have died in the third world because of fraudulent cancer accusations against the product.

  12. tatuaje

    actually, DDT was good … millions have died in the third world because of fraudulent cancer accusations against the product.

    Uh, what? This statement makes no sense…Please support this statement with some sort of study or stats or something….

    Not only are the accusations that DDT is cancerous not fraudulent (http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/ddt.htm), but if you are referring to the discontinued use of this chemical to prevent malaria by killing mosquitoes as the cause of millions of people dying in the third world, well then you need to do a little more research…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/04/AR2005060400130.html

  13. laws are still laws, and gas stations are breaking them regardless of your opinions or values. i’ve never ever seen a police vehicle or emergency vehicle of any kind filling up at a public gas station. if citizens run out of gas something tells me that the cops and the firetrucks will still be able to fill up somewhere. i sure hope so.

  14. zen

    Gas-Up on Haywood Road in West Asheville still has gas at $3.99/gallon and that’s for premium – to, ahem, get back on track of the discussion.

  15. zen wrote: “Unbridled capitalism allows the greedy to get powerfully manipulative.”

    It is only the powerfully manipulative government that must be bridled — not freedom. Witness the Bill of Rights.

    tatuaje wrote: “[Capitalism brought us] climate change, Superfund sites, the Exxon Valdeze, Donald Trump, mercury and lead laced toys, the prison-industrial complex, the military-industrial complex, DDT, Wal-Mart, asbestos, economic and cultural exploitation, imperialist, colonialist and counter-revolutionary wars, repressions of workers and trade unionists, genocides, massacres”

    Capitalism (the social system of freedom) did not bring ANY of those things. People brought those things, irrespective of any prevailing social system.

    Under a socio-economic system of freedom, many things are possible. Some are good, some bad. Sometimes it only matters who you ask.

    However, only under the freedom and innovation of capitalism can the bad be mitigated, improved upon or eliminated.

  16. bobaloo

    How does a government official know what the price of gasoline should be?
    Because that’s part of their job. You know, economics.
    I’m not necessarily arguing that Easley didn’t jump the gun here, but to assume that government should have zero oversight over such an important and strategic sector of the economy is overstating, IMO.

    Sorry fire trucks, ambulances, police, construction and public transportation. We ran out of gas because the prices were too low.
    Don’t be silly. When’s the last time you saw a bus or a police officer filling up at the local Hot Spot or Ingles? They have their own supply and contracts.

  17. zen

    tatuaje wrote: “[Capitalism brought us] climate change, Superfund sites, the Exxon Valdeze, Donald Trump, mercury and lead laced toys, the prison-industrial complex, the military-industrial complex, DDT, Wal-Mart, asbestos, economic and cultural exploitation, imperialist, colonialist and counter-revolutionary wars, repressions of workers and trade unionists, genocides, massacres”

    Tim Peck wrote: Capitalism (the social system of freedom) did not bring ANY of those things. People brought those things, irrespective of any prevailing social system.

    I think you’ve romanticed free market capitalism and confused the freedom of the individual with the rights of people with money to do whatever the f*ck they want because they have the power to do so.

    Let’s just let special interests and lobbyists BE the government, then if you don’t like lead in your kid’s toys you have ‘power of the consumer’ to not buy them after they have brain damage. But don’t rely on the US to bail you out – you as a consumer made the free market choice to buy these products without doing your own due dilligence.

  18. bobaloo wrote: “‘How does a government official know what the price of gasoline should be?’ Because that’s part of their job. You know, economics.”

    Economics is not the proper job of the government. Government interference in economics is improper. Moreover, it is unconstitutional. The proper role of government is the protection of individual rights — and no more.

    ashevillerock wrote: “i’d be terrified if i saw an ambulance at a bp”

    I have not mentioned BP or any other commercial or noncommercial outlets for local gasoline supply. Besides, there are other non-emergency activities where critical resources should be diverted. Prices help drive those resources to there best, most important uses. A city-dweller opping off two cars and a lawnmower ain’t it.

    zen wrote: “I think you’ve romanticed free market capitalism and confused the freedom of the individual with the rights of people with money to do whatever the f*ck they want because they have the power to do so.”

    No, I have not confused these things. Capitalism is a social system of freedom. Freedom is supported by limited government and a rule of law. The Declaration of Independence makes this case and so do I. Any economy that is not circumscribed by a rule of law that protects individual rights is not free.

  19. Gas Prices Rise as Industry Assesses Storm Damage
    By CLIFFORD KRAUSS | NYT | September 13, 2008
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/14/business/14gas.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1221390252-qEoeNggEluqiqtWqUerujw

    HOUSTON — Gasoline prices rose Saturday by an average of five cents a gallon across the country as the oil industry anticipated disruptions at several refineries along the Texas coast because of Hurricane Ike. A station in Little Rock, Ark., registers the rising cost of gasoline, which was up nationwide. It will take days for refiners to estimate the damages from the storm, and it will take at least a week before the cluster of refineries around Houston can resume operations. About half of the state’s 26 refineries either closed or curtailed production in the days before the hurricane struck land on Saturday, and 15 percent or more of the nation’s refining capacity has been knocked out. Flooding, blocked roads and major power shortages are bound to cause problems for the refiners. At the same time, most of the oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have been out of commission for two weeks, starting as Hurricane Gustav made its way into the Gulf in late August…

  20. i only used bp as an example of a public gas station. i seriously doubt the tanks filling up cop cars and fire trucks had long lines or low levels and if the government has their hands in something i hope they can ensure that emergency vehicles don’t run out of gas in a “shortage”.

    when i see a 5 car line at the pump i defiantly don’t stop to fill up unless i can’t make it home, and i’m surely not going to wait in that line so i can mow my damn lawn. i’d rather be here bitchin on the internet. ;)

    why did some gas stations prices only go up a little bit and some go up tremendously? are gas station owners taking advantage of a bad situation? why were some gas stations claiming they were out of 87 and only selling 89 and up when they were never out of 87 in the first place? many gas stations just closed down completely.(ingles?) did they run out of gas? i don’t belive so, but maybe. i consider those practices to be dishonest, unfair, and i’m glad we have authorities looking out for this behavior.

    oh! i know a guy in hendersonville that owns like 5 gas stations. i’ll pick his brain and report back soon.

    roads are run by the govt, why not gas? (just a q)

  21. zen

    Price gouging is supply ‘gone wild’,
    looting is demand ‘gone wild.’

    To me, those who support unbridled free market capitalism are saying that the government is created to curtail the freedoms of individuals (called laws) not the actions of businesses and corporations (a ‘social system of freedom’)

  22. PatD

    I am reading these posts and I can’t help thinking, you are all right and you are all wrong.

    Unbridled capitalism leads to the ridiculous mess we are in today. And if you think we have seen it all, think again. Common sense dictates that something/someone can’t keep growing indefinitely. All what grows will reach the end of it’s life cycle and will inevitably die.

    Total government control does noet work either. We have seen the examples in socialist/communist.

    In many ways, the US is the land of extremes. Extreme rich and poor, dumb and intelligent, fat or slim, you name it, it’s all here.

    So, there has to be enough control as to not let things get out of hand and, at the same time, not too much control to not hinder market mechanisms.

    In this case, gas gouging, slapping more than a dollar on every gallon, just because you can, is wrong. Prices will go up and down within supply/demand mechanisms but what we saw on Friday was just plain greed.

  23. Rob Close

    all i know is that because of price-gouging, people get scared. so people buy up all the gas that’s available right away at stupid prices, leaving the stations empty and half the people unable to go to work.

    i know of at least one local business that had a bunch of employees call in “gas crisis – no gas for my car, can’t make it to work”. and yet there is PLENTY OF GAS – just that fear is actually turning this into a security situation.

    Gas is, sadly enough, security. You can’t mess with its price in this day in age. Regulations suck, but they’re there for the good of the people, and I do not see how ANY good is coming of price-gouging.

    I do see how all the businesses raising their prices equally at once is in clear violation of Anti-monopoly laws. Those laws are there to keep Capitalism working smoothly – and I do NOT want to see them weakened. They keep the game of capitalism somewhat fair.

    BTW, I don’t care about monopoly laws for items that aren’t essential in our society. But I’d argue that it’s not just bread & milk – phones & gas are both things we need to have a CHANCE to get by in this modern culture. sure, not everyone (go hippies!), but who here could do their current job if they couldn’t afford gas or a phone?

  24. WELL SAID PatD.

    timpecke “Any economy that is not circumscribed by a rule of law that protects individual rights is not free”

    Did i read this right? So you don’t think that the government should be interfering in this situation but you think we need our individual rights circumscribed by laws? Are these price gouging laws not the circumscribing laws you’re speaking of? If these laws were not in place we’d be less free? Yet they’re still wrong?

    I’m confused, but then again I got a b- in political science.

  25. “Economics is not the proper job of the government. Government interference in economics is improper.”

    proper or not the govt interferes in our economics in so many ways all of the time. adjusting interest rates,taxes blah blah blah they play with economics like a cat plays with a dead mouse. lots of things sound good and look good on paper but these ideals and ideas don’t translate into the real world in which we live.

  26. zen

    Well said, PatD. It’s the balance that’s the toughest part of Democracy/Capitalism. Of course nobody wants bloated, freedom-crushing democracy, but neither do we want to be railroaded because some people can buy more ‘freedom’ than others.

  27. In reference to those who claim to have neve seen a Public Safety Vhicle fill up at a local gas station…I say open your eyes.

    I have worked for EMS for years, and we fill up at local gas stations, and so do our local fore idepartments and law enforcement. During the hours that the county pumps are open, we fill up there if it is convenient.

  28. thunderpig

    i generally drive with my eyes open as well as pump gas, and i can safely say i’ve never seen an ambulance, police car, or fire truck at the gas station. i don’t drive all that often though. i’m not saying they don’t use them, but i’ve never seen them, eyes wide open. it’d be pretty strange and alarming to see a big fire truck in line at the gas station.

  29. quote “100% of city diesel vehicles use a 5% biodiesel fuel (B5)”

    so any diesel automobile owned by the city is probably not being filled up at bp and the like, or do these stations now offer 5% biodiesel?

  30. PatD

    To be honest, I don’t think gas is expensive enough. I know that sounds stupid. But the way people keep driving shows me it’s obviously not a problem and we could easily add another $5.00 in taxes (we know our poor government needs the money badly :-) ).
    Every day I have a 15 mile one way commute, mostly highway. I cruise at 55/60mph because, frankly, I really don’t give a damn if my ride takes me 20 or 25 minutes. As if a few minutes gain is going to change my life.
    Without exception, everybody keeps flying by me. Floor that gas guzzler because, yep, you really need to be there fast. Idling is another good one. I don’t see anyone turning the engine off at the bank drive-through or you even see it in parking lots. Imagine lowering a window and breathing outside air. The horror of it.

    Not that this has anything to do with the greed-gouging in this thread but just my 2 cents.

  31. PatD

    It’s a tough topic Zen. (totally free versus controlled market) And I sure don’t pretend to have answers.
    As you say, it’s all about finding that balance which is tough when some people mean well while others are power hungry and corrupt.
    Then again, is this not how nature works?
    Survival of the strong ….

    When I was young I was definitely extreme socialist. That’s of course out the window now :-)
    Someone once told me, when you are 20 and have communist ideas, it’s a sign of intelligence. When you are 40 and still a communist, it’s a sign of stupidity.

  32. I am in Macon and Jackson Counties. If you are out and about on Monday or Thursday night, you can’t help but see fire trucks and ambulances at the local gas stations. When we make runs to Mission, we almost always stop over there and get fuel because it is cheaper.

    When we take a fire engine to get it serviced, we almost always stop in Asheville to get fuel.

    Our county commissioners are wise enough to stay away from the bio-diesel scam.
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=biofuels-bad-for-people-and-climate

  33. PatD wrote: “Unbridled capitalism leads to the ridiculous mess we are in today. ”

    This is not correct. It is government interventionism that has led to the “mess we’re in today.” The Federal Reserve is a private bank sponsored by the U.S. government. The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law in 1913 and allows this central bank to print money (look at a dollar) and control the economy. Lobbyists curry favor among elected officials. Insolvent corporations do not bail themselves out.

    Rob Close wrote: “I do see how all the businesses raising their prices equally at once is in clear violation of Anti-monopoly laws. Those laws are there to keep Capitalism working smoothly”

    Anti-trust laws are there to allow one business to use the coercive force of the government to eliminate competition in the free market.

    ashevillerock wrote: “Did i read this right? So you don’t think that the government should be interfering in this situation but you think we need our individual rights circumscribed by laws? Are these price gouging laws not the circumscribing laws you’re speaking of? If these laws were not in place we’d be less free? Yet they’re still wrong? ”

    This is not what I said. The government is (and should be) instituted to protect individual rights. Price gouging laws violate a property owner’s right to trade freely in a natural economy.

    ashevillerock wrote: “is raising gas prices an effective and reasonable deterrent from buying gas in a time of panic (apparently there’s no shortage, just a panic)?? ”

    Yes. This is the free market solution to scarcity. One important function of prices is to signal to the consuming public the available supply of a valuable product or resource. When the true picture of that availability is skewed by government intervention, the consumer cannot get an accurate picture. This causes malinvestment and false scarcity. When panic is in the air and the government forces businesses to fake reality and keep prices low, then this is a recipe for a real disaster.

  34. PatD

    timpec. I don’t see what the federal reserve has to do with this. Yes, I know, the fed is private and this means a few select elite people effectively run this country. The so called democracy, in this country, is basically a farce and most people don’t know it (or refuse to believe it). But that aside, the point I made was, that if you let any market run completely free, totally ungoverned, then the rich only will be able to afford everything. ahum…kinda like it is right now. It’s a simple law of nature that the strong will always overpower the weak. So, you can advocate ‘no government’ all you want, as long as you also don’t mind the constant widening of the gap between rich and poor. I agree, total government control is also not the answer. Just a balance, as Zen pointed out, between the two. Jeez, this is far away from the gas gouging but in a way related.

  35. Cheshire

    Without government intervention via laws passed, the “true free market” would have been dominated by monopolies long ago…it would have been a business-class mafia. Southern Bell, AT&T;, Microsoft, and those are just recently. If you think business would thrive and all would be happy in an unchecked “free market”…you’ve got your head stuck somewhere. People in general are far too greedy to play fair or responsibly. Just a fact of life.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m running out of tricks to make ends meet, thanks to the trickle-down effects of the rise in gas prices. Groceries cost at least double what they used to, and if the price of gas goes up much more, I’m going to be stranded at home. I simply can’t afford to do the things I need to do to get by…and no, I’m not running all over the place wasting tank after tank of gasoline.
    Someone wants to be overly greedy and make me have to decide between food and the gas needed to get the food home? Screw ‘em: bring on the anti-gouging laws. Too much greed in the world as it is.

  36. Cheshire wrote: “Without government intervention via laws passed, the ‘true free market’
    would have been dominated by monopolies long ago.”

    Monopolies are not possible in a ‘true free market.’ A free market would be open to competition but protected from predation.

    Only the government can establish a coercive monopoly. Government intervention, or corporations using government, use force to eliminate competition.

  37. PatD

    Cheshire, what do you mean? I don’t understand. Are you saying you are not making 5 million (or 250K according to Obama) a year like the rest of us?

  38. PatD

    Jeez Tim. I think you are smart person but you are stuck in this anti gov thing. It’s obscuring your common sense. Cheshire is right, let only money & power make decisions and only money will make more and more money. Power always favors power not the well being of the little person.

  39. bobaloo

    we could easily add another $5.00 in taxes (we know our poor government needs the money badly :-) ).

    You do of course realize that 1)You’re advocating a governmental policy of punishing citizens to stop them doing something you disagree with (that’s not illegal) and 2)the people that will take the brunt of this punishment are middle class rural workers who don’t have access to mass transit. Correct?

  40. Ezekiel

    TP, that was an interesting article on biofuels but it mainly addressed ethanol, not biodiesel.

    I did find this quote poignant:
    “We are converting their food into our fuel,” Tilman notes. ” The typical driver of an SUV spends as much on fuel in a month as the poorer third of the world spend on food.”

  41. Ethanol was just used as an example. Nearly all biodiesel is grown where food once was and it is produced from oils or fats using transesterification and is a liquid similar in composition to fossil/mineral diesel. Its chemical name is fatty acid methyl (or ethyl) ester (FAME). Oils are mixed with sodium hydroxide and methanol (or ethanol) and the chemical reaction produces biodiesel (FAME) and glycerol. One part glycerol is produced for every 10 parts biodiesel. Feedstocks for biodiesel include animal fats, vegetable oils, soy, rapeseed, jatropha, mahua, mustard, flax, sunflower, palm oil, hemp, field pennycress, and algae.

    In the tropics…where most of the biodiesel material is grown…thousands upon thousands of acres of land is being cleared to grow crops for the biodiesel industry.

    We are putting food into our fuel tanks when it could be used to feed people. Land that once grew wheat are now growing fr the biofuel market because it yeilds more money for the farmer and the quality does not have to be as good as for food use. Just look at the rise in grain prices, corn prices that have resulted bcause of the shortage of these products.

    We have trillions of barrels of petroleum in the ground that can provide millions of jobs here in America…instead of sending $700 billion plus a year to Saudi Arabia or Venezuela…we can keep that money here.

    Enviros typically create a larger problem than the one they “purported” to be interested in solving.

    The hysteria over DDT has murdered tens of million in Africa…and now the UN has allowed it to be used again…a move that will save millions.

    Instead of causing cancer…there is evidence that DDT actually inhibits the growth of cancer…
    http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/Fall02/Mosquitoes.html

  42. PatD

    Just curious. Why are we always hearing about drilling for more oil while we hear nothing about start building alternative (wind/solar) infrastructure? It’s not that we need to invent the technology. It’s already here. How long can it possibly take? Germany already runs 30% on wind and solar. What the hell is up with the US on this? Too many people making too much money in the oil industry perhaps?

  43. tatuaje

    Instead of causing cancer…there is evidence that DDT actually inhibits the growth of cancer…

    TP, take a longer look at your “source”…

    Hugh Ellsaesser A meteorologist and guest scientist at California’s Lawrence Livermore nuclear laboratory, Dr. Hugh Ellsaesser is another widely quoted global warming skeptic. He doesn’t deny that CO2 buildup causes global warming — he argues that we should just sit back and enjoy it. He’s also a scientific advisor to the Lyndon LaRouche group 21st Century Science Associates, which publishes an anti-environmental magazine promoting LaRouche’s wacky Neo-Nazi cult.

    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/1997/12/gw_chart.html

    Once again, please take a look at my source:

    A Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University, Oregon State University, the University of Idaho, and the University of California at Davis and the Institute for Environmental Toxicology, Michigan State University. Major support and funding was provided by the USDA/Extension Service/National Agricultural Pesticide Impact Assessment Program.

    http://extoxnet.orst.edu/pips/ddt.htm

    And another great article in Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting:

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3186

    DDT causes cancer TP….I’m sorry, it hurts to be wrong, but these are the FACTS. Scientifically verified….

    But as far as biofuels go, we are in complete agreement….almost. Using recycled fry oil rules…However, growing fuel ain’t the answer…Neither, however, is staying addicted to oil, no matter if we’re about to run out or not….

  44. Reality Check

    Tat … the DDT thing has to do with Malaria. It had almost been completely eradicated by DDT all over the world. Now over 20million 3rd worlder’s have died from it and hundreds of millions have suffered from it given the comeback that the DDT ban created. Which was worse?

    I have to agree with you that growing fuel is not the answer. It’s another kick in the side of the 3rd world and our poor. We need a better solution that that.

  45. tatuje:

    So…you are saying that because he follows LaRouche that we should ignore every other facet of his life? That is insanity, and the very definition of an ad hominem attack (against the man, rather than against his argument) to discredit the guy. There was only one unimpeachable Man Who ever lived.

    As far as your Global Warming religion goes, global temperatures have been in decline for years. I’ll never be able to convince you until we are waist-deep in snow.

    If DDT causes cancer, then why did Gordon Edwards not get it after publicly eating a teaspoon weekly for over two years not get cancer?

    I know some Mexicans who bring DDT across the border for use in their landscaping projects, and they seem just fine, unlike the 50 million murdered by Rachel Carson.
    http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/rachel-carson-environmentalist-queen-of-green-genocide/

    Oil is a necessity of modern life. Even if we used nuclear generators in our vehicles, we would still need oil for lubrication and for manufacturing. The only way to completely free ourselves of oil is to return to being Hunter-Gatherers.

    We will need oil for the forseeable future in vast quantities. Solar is expensive, takes up too much land (unless we went with orbiting solar power stations and beamed the energy to earth in microwave beams), and wind has become a “Not In MY BackYard” problem with people saying the sound of the turbines makes them ill, envirowhackos crying over dead birds hit by blades…after they were the ones who wanted them installed in the first place. Would you assent to the building of a wind turbine in your yard (if you have one)?

    Electric Cars are deadly to the environment.
    http://thunderpigblog.blogspot.com/2007/02/toyota-prius-drivers-fuel-environmental.html

    Would you agree to move people out of half of New Mexico to install solar collectors? Would you agree to the waiving of the millions of environMENTAL impact statements?

    France has over 80% of it’s electricity generated by Nuclear Power Plants. Would you agree that we do the same because France does? Japan and Lithuania are other examples where nuclear power has produced safe, clean and cheap electricity for millions of people. We only have about 20% of our electricity generated this way. I’d love to see that number quadruple!

    Oil is cheaper, more efficient, and safer for the environment all the way around for right now.

    And, to bring it back to the topic at hand…the Law of Supply and Demand…requires that the price of a resource go up when it becomes in short supply as a signal to the consumer of that resource to cut back on consumption, not rush the suppliers like mindless rats.

    The Price-Gouging Laws disrupt that cycle and result in even less supply all around. I normally fill up my two fuel tanks with diesel every Thursday night, which is what I did…then, I went home and stayed there until Monday morning instead of going out to shop Friday, to the library on Saturday and to church on Sunday. I saved perhaps 5 gallons of diesel consumption right there during a supply crisis. What did you do? Did you get fuel when you didn’t normally get fuel? Did you continue to go places and be a burden on an already burdened system?n Did you think of yourself? Or the community at large?

    Governor Easley shoulf be impeached for this immoral act, and so should the Attorney General for going along with it.

    A. The Law of Demand
    The law of demand states that, if all other factors remain equal, the higher the price of a good, the less people will demand that good. In other words, the higher the price, the lower the quantity demanded. The amount of a good that buyers purchase at a higher price is less because as the price of a good goes up, so does the opportunity cost of buying that good. As a result, people will naturally avoid buying a product that will force them to forgo the consumption of something else they value more. The chart below shows that the curve is a downward slope.
    http://www.investopedia.com/university/economics/economics3.asp

    Do they even teach basic economics in school anymore?!?

  46. Rob Close

    “As a result, people will naturally avoid buying a product that will force them to forgo the consumption of something else they value more.”

    This should be called a THEORY of demand perhaps. I see the price of oil going up, but due to it’s quasi-necessary status in our society, I do not see the demand going down (and not next week, month, year, or even a decade from now).

    I see these arguments as attempts to use generally-wise Libertarian-ish philosphies to justify allowing some of the greediest companies to keep screwing us as much as they can get away with.

    Y’know, if all the companies DOUBLED the price of gas tomorrow, how many of us would STILL have to buy it? The law of Demand is a THEORY.

  47. Rob Close

    btw, the DDT controversy doesn’t seem to belong here, and hanging 50 million deaths on Carson is just inane. and if we wanted to stop those deaths, is DDT really the ONLY way we could have? or is this just an easy way to pass the buck for allowing all those people to die while we continue on as a rich nation? I mean, we spend nearly twice as much on our PETS as a nation than we do giving foreigners aid. (43.4b vs 23.5b)

    ‘Silent Spring’ posited that we shouldn’t be dumping chemicals into our environment in huge quantities unless we fully know how damaging they might be. It was good enough a theory that JFK had his Science Advisory Committee look into it – and the scientists of the day agreed with her.

  48. Rob Close:

    It is a law…and there is very complicated math behind it all. My head still hurts from studying it in school.

    What evil thing the Governor has done is ignore the Price Elasticity of Demand. He has commanded (as in the Soviet-style Command Economy) that the price not reflect a high demand and coexisting shortage of a product.

    More at Wikipedia (this is where the math comes in):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_elasticity_of_demand

    Here are a couple of websites you might want to look at to learn more about the Law of Supply and Demand:

    http://www.investopedia.com/university/economics/economics3.asp

    And from good old wikipedia:

    The supply-and-demand model (sometimes described as the law of supply and demand) posits that a market tends toward equilibrium price and quantity of a commodity at the intersection of consumer demand and producer supply. At this point, quantity supplied equals quantity demanded (as shown in the figure[1] ). If the price for a good is below equilibrium, consumers demand more of the good than producers are prepared to supply. This defines a shortage of the good. A shortage results in producers increasing the price until equilibrium is reached. If the price of a good is above equilibrium, there is a surplus of the good. Producers are motivated to eliminate the surplus by lowering the price, until equilibrium is reached.

    Source:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

    Of course, if you are a fan of a Totaliarian Market System like Communism or Socialism…these things mean little to you as you wonder why things don’t work as you think they should.

  49. Do Hurricanes Cause Shortages?
    Art Carden | Mises Institute | 9/15/2008

    The Huntsville Times reported on September 12 that, in response to the looming threat from Hurricane Ike, Alabama Governor Bob Riley declared a formal state of emergency. The governor’s declaration of emergency activated the state’s price-gouging law, which makes “unconscionable pricing” illegal during times of emergency. The Times quoted Riley as saying that he thinks “a threat to public health is a strong possibility due to the shortage of fuels.” Hurricanes don’t cause shortages, however. Price controls do…

  50. Rob Close

    I just paid $5.29/gallon for premium on a day when the price of Gas plummeted to around $95 a barrel. Glad there are websites documenting these prices.

  51. Well Rob Close, did you fill out a complaint form to the Attorney General in an effort to cause further harm to our economy?

    There is no such thing as price gouging.

    It is 12.30, and Oil is down to $92. The Oil Price Bubble just couldn’t hold because the supply curve wouldn’t support such a high price for oil.

    If the ijits around here would just quit rushing the pumps every time a tanker truck comes in…the prices here will come down.

    I hope the panic is over by the time my regular fill-up day Thursday evening….course the people who use diesel don’t seem to be the easily scared type. ;)

  52. shadmarsh

    “If the ijits around here would just quit rushing the pumps every time a tanker truck comes in…the prices here will come down. ”

    the apocalypse might be right around the corner, as I am in agreement TP. You’ve been warned.

  53. tatuaje

    So…you are saying that because he follows LaRouche that we should ignore every other facet of his life?

    No, what I’m suggesting is you use a paper that provides results obtained through the scientific method by accredited universities as a source instead of a magazine article published by a “anti-environmental magazine promoting LaRouche’s wacky Neo-Nazi cult.”

    As far as your Global Warming religion goes, global temperatures have been in decline for years. I’ll never be able to convince you until we are waist-deep in snow.

    Sorry, too many scientists agree that it is occurring. And the fact that the powers that be are spending so much time, money, and effort to cover it up tells me a lot…

    If DDT causes cancer, then why did Gordon Edwards not get it after publicly eating a teaspoon weekly for over two years not get cancer?

    I was hoping you would mention this…This little anecdote pops up wherever someone tries to debunk the whole DDT/cancer connection…So many obvious answers, but I think the best reply should be: OK, Thunderpig, time to put your pancreas where your mouth is (so to speak). You have so much faith in the non-toxicity of DDT and in this wing-nut who “supposedly” ate all of this DDT…I dare you to do the same thing…Hell, we can post it all over the internet…I bet you could get some major chemical companies to sponsor you….Only one caveat….you have to have the DDT verified by an independent third party…

    How ’bout it TP?

    unlike the 50 million murdered by Rachel Carson.

    Once again, you’re trying to use some random blog to refute an article in the highly respected FAIR that is impeccably researched and annotated, just to slander the brave woman responsible for starting the modern environmental movement. Anecdotal vs. Scientific… Don’t you see the inherit problem with the very foundations of your case? Please, read the article I originally linked to if you didn’t before.

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3186

    Solar is expensive, takes up too much land

    What? That is the most simplistic and irrational argument against solar power EVER…You’re qualifications are both relative and subjective. Wasn’t too expensive for me ( and I ain’t rich, believe you me) and doesn’t take up hardly any land at all…

    wind has become a “Not In MY BackYard” problem with people saying the sound of the turbines makes them ill, envirowhackos crying over dead birds hit by blades…after they were the ones who wanted them installed in the first place. Would you assent to the building of a wind turbine in your yard (if you have one)?

    Is all you use anecdotal evidence? I just drove through Iowa & Kansas on my motorcycle (and I see it coming…yes, TP, it uses oil. However, it gets up to 56 mpg…besides the fact I’ve been working with a friend on a battery powered motorcycle that charges off of solar…using all recycled parts…) and saw huge wind farms….Iowa currently has more than 600 wind turbines, producing enough electricity to power 140,000 homes…And yes, TP, if my land was right for a wind turbine I would definitely have one.

    Would you agree to move people out of half of New Mexico to install solar collectors?

    Uh, why would we have to do that? There’s all kinds of empty/unused/unusable space that’s perfect for wind and/or solar farms….Not to mention all of the rooftops in this country that could be sporting solar panels.

    France has over 80% of it’s electricity generated by Nuclear Power Plants. Would you agree that we do the same because France does?

    Hell no….

    Japan and Lithuania are other examples where nuclear power has produced safe, clean and cheap electricity for millions of people. We only have about 20% of our electricity generated this way. I’d love to see that number quadruple!

    Safe?!!? Chernobyal anyone! Three mile island? Clean?!!?? Do you know what depleted uranium is? Have you ever heard of Yucca Mountain and the debate surrounding it? Do I really need to link you to an article that explains nuclear waste?!?! Cheap? It’s cheaper to build a wind or solar farm than a nuclear power plant…whole lot cleaner and safer, too…

    No, but really TP, let’s get you on that DDT diet you’re so stoked about….

  54. tatuaje

    You heard it here first, folks! Thunderpig has consented to replicating the Gordon Edwards feat of eating about 12 mgs of DDT every week for 2 years! Yes! Tell your friends! Tell your family! Put it on your blog!

  55. Molton continues to feed the fallacy of “price gouging.” I echo the comments of Thunder Pig: “There is no such thing as price gouging.”

    However, Molton inadvertently makes an unintended point: no consumers have to shop at his fictitious gas station selling gas at very high prices. Individual retailer’s raising prices above market opens the door for entrepreneurs to enter the market and under-sell competitors for a profit.

    -TIM PECK

  56. cwaster

    Interesting. I was in LA and Cincinnati this weekend. They had no gouging, no empty pumps. But yet we did. Why is this? Because they can get away with it here, that’s why.

  57. Rob Close

    it’s my understanding that we get ALL our oil from houston, and that we’re basically at the end of their route. LA & Cincinnati have different suppliers I bet (LA for sure).

  58. Rob Close:

    Our oil spigot does not terminate here…Most of our supply comes from the Colonial Oil terminal in Spartanburg, SC. and the pipeline terminates in New Jersey, so we are perhaps a little better than halfway between the beginning and end.

  59. easy

    I think we are all missing the point here. It is not the gouging that is the issue it is the price per gallon based on the price per barrel. This was the reason that over the last year gas at the pump went from 2.75 to over 4.00 per gallon.

    Now we are paying over 4 and barrel prices have droped to 91. The prices for many gas stations are set by the distributors not the stations themselves.

    This is reflected by the record profits made by the big oil companies. They are not selling that much more gas they are just making more per gallon off of the consumer. This is the funamental flaw in our free market.

  60. Reality Check

    You are correct, easy, that there is not a direct correlation between the price of oil and gas. However, there never has been. There are many products in our economy that are not priced directly to the cost of the goods to make them.

    American’s have demonstrated that the current price of gas is still not high enough to affect behavior. Even at $5 per gallon, consumers drove almost as much.

    Using Medicare, Medicaid, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as examples, I think its fare to say that the Gov’t totally screws up their forays into the private sector. They say big things and then drop the ball in their own end zone.

    Let supply and demand sort things out.

  61. Ezekiel

    Good luck finding gas in Asheville on a Sunday right now. I drove up from SC yesterday and almost didn’t make it back home. Word to the wise, fill up before heading to Ash-Vegas.

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