Sorry for disturbing the hysteria over the recent petro price surge with boring facts. Here we learn that the conversion of petro to include more ethanol (as mandated by the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005) requires costly and time-concuming procedures that have resulted now in shortages and the obligatory ensuing higher prices.
Whould those shortages abate faster if petro outlets could raise their rates even higher? This article doesn't mention "anti-gouging" laws, and the impact that they might have on extending the time that it will take for petro companies to complete their ethanol-conversion requirements. But as we see now, some petro stations are dry, their $3/gal signs rendered absurd by empty tanks. Would customers prefer $4/gal petro that existed to fantasy $3/gal signs? If they prefer the empty tanks advertised by $3/gal signs, might they even prefer the signs above empty tanks to read, "$1.50/gal"?
People angry about the higher petro prices include leftists who otherwise applaud and advocate higher prices, so long as those boosted prices result from enormous new taxes, "earmarked" for govt spending on developing non-petro energy sources, and conservation. Surely a more efficient means of improving our energy situation is to let market forces dictate prices, and permit market participants to build new refineries and nuclear plants, and explore and drill in US "protected" areas. Meanwhile, consumers will start choosing more smartly designed home and office structures and options.