There are two ways to allocate resources: “high bid wins” and “line up.”
In New Jersey and New York, “line up” is now in operation.
Why not allow $10 a gallon gasoline to clear the market? Because that would be “unfair.” So, people with time on their hands get “cheap” gasoline — cheap if the value of their time is zero.
Governor Christ Christie warned New Jersey residents that the state will prosecute “price gougers.” He believes in lining up.
The same policy prevails in New York. The Republican governor and the Democrat governor agree: “Line up!”
So, drivers are lining up. For images, click here.
This is state coercion. Why should anyone believe that state coercion is better than voluntary exchange to cure shortages of any kind? Why is a man with a badge and a gun the right person to solve post-crisis shortages? Why not “high bid wins?”
He who believes in theft by ballot box favors anti-gouging laws. That is a very large electorate. Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo are trying to placate that section of the electorate. “Vote for me. I’ll stick a gun in the belly of anyone who offers to sell you gasoline at prices above what they were before the hurricane hit, when supply and demand were different.”
The gas shortage in New York and New Jersey is likely to continue for ‘a number of days,’ the governor of New York warned on Sunday.
Major pipelines are coming back online, service stations are re-opening and the federal government is working to ship millions of gallons of fuel to the region — but long lines still greeted most drivers who were looking to fill their tanks.
For a second day, New Jersey Gov Chris Christie ordered gas rationing in 12 of his state’s 21 counties. Only cars with even-numbered license plates were allowed to fill up on Sunday.
Odd-numbered license plates will have access to fuel on Monday. . . .
New York Gov Andrew Cuomo cautioned that it will likely be ‘a number of days’ before there is enough fuel to go around in New York. . . .
With fuel shortages gripping parts of New York tempers have flared over as desperate drivers try to fill their tanks to get about the city.
Tempers flared amongst those waiting to fill containers outside the Bedford Avenue Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn yesterday.
It got worse. FEMA got into the act. It started giving away free gasoline.
The National Guard distributed free gas to residents outside the Brooklyn Armoury in Brooklyn yesterday.
Police had their hands full in the Crown Heights neighbourhood of Brooklyn as the promise of $10 in free FEMA gas caused line jumpers to clash with the police leading to arrests.
Thousands of otherwise patient motorists lined 12 blocks outside the Bedford Avenue Armory as 11,000 gallons of free ‘Obama Gas’ was distributed to ease the travel chaos across the city almost one week after superstorm Sandy hit.
‘People have been cutting the line like crazy, and there’s nothing you can do about it,’ said Adam Brahimaj, 24, who had sat in his car for three hours. . . .
Gas rationing went into effect in northern New Jersey, while crowds lined up at free fuel distribution sites in New York’s boroughs, where a limit of 10 gallons per person was imposed. New York officials then said emergency vehicles like fire trucks and police patrol cars had the priority over the public. . . .
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced earlier today that the U.S. Department of Defense was opening the mobile fuel stations in New York City and on suburban Long Island.
The state Division of Military and Naval Affairs then asked the public to stay away until more fuel is released, causing a scene of bedlam.
‘It’s chaos, pandemonium out here,’ said Chris Damon, whose family was displaced from his home in the Queens neighborhood of Far Rockaway and are staying with relatives in Brooklyn. He circled the block for 3 1/2 hours at the Brooklyn Armory, where the National Guard was directing traffic.
‘It’s ridiculous. No one knows what’s going on,’ he said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced that the 5,000-gallon trucks from the Defense Department would set up the emergency mobile gas stations at five locations around the New York City metropolitan area.
‘Do not panic. I know there is anxiety about fuel,’ he said. . . .
After the long lines formed, New York state officials said the public should stay away from the refueling stations until emergency responders first got their gas and more supplies are then made available.