The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

"Price Gouging" (of gasoline) should be limited (or eliminated) by the United States Government*

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,925 times Debate No: 5424
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)





*Definition: "Price Gouging" in this debate refers to it's legal usage, Price gouging is a pejorative term for a seller pricing much higher than is considered reasonable or fair. In precise, legal usage, it is the name of a felony that applies in some of the United States only during civil emergencies.

FOR The scope of this argument, this resolution applies only to gasoline prices during states of emergency in the United States.

Furthermore, this resolution may also be interpreted as "Corporations should not have the right to charge above [a certain maximum] during emergency situations"

I will hold my arguments for later.


I have not done any research for this. No transcripts of Congressional hearings or debates, no statistical analysis of past disasters, no case law research. I have not even looked at any of the legislation referred to above. For the time being I will rely on a common sense approach.

Proposition: During civil emergencies, corporations (or is it gasoline sellers generally, regardless of their legal status?) should not be allowed to charge prices for gasoline in excess of what is fair and reasonable.

Competing interests:

1.The interest of protecting sellers against overregulation and lesser profits or potential losses
2.The interest of preserving the doctrine of free-market economy


1.The interest of protecting consumers from financial exploitation during times of particular vulnerability
2.The interest of ensuring speedy and effective evacuation and aid delivery
3.The interest of preventing a surge in crime even higher than is already expected during emergencies

At the outset, protection against overregulation is only necessary to the extent to which overregulation could be said to lead to some detriment.

Free-market economy is a fine concept operating throughout the capitalist world. Prices are set by supply and demand and (in theory at least) this leads to economic balance where the market itself sets the prices of commodities. In an emergency, there is usually a sudden surge in demand for many commodities and gasoline is at the very forefront of this. People often face electrical blackouts and choose to rely on gasoline-driven generators. People want to stock up for the "rainy day" (rainier day?). This will of course depend on the nature of the emergency. There will be many emergencies where the need for gasoline actually decreases as, for example, roads become unusable, large areas are flooded, etc. However, should demand suddenly increase, this gives sellers the potential to suddenly raise their prices and thereby exploit the situation for profit. Since the subject matter is limited to increasing gas prices to ‘above that which is fair and reasonable', it is understood that the Government-imposed maximums in those situations would never be set below net cost of acquisition. Thus, there is no question of losses to be incurred by the seller. The only result of not having the consumer protection measure in issue would be that the seller would be allowed to potentially dramatically increase its profits at the cost of a buyer population already faced with a difficult and distressing situation.

It should be kept in mind that gas prices are the base for most other prices. Their increase is very quickly followed by increases in most other goods as the acquisition cost of those goods is a factor of the cost of gas (goods need to be delivered to their point of sale).

To allow gas sellers to increase their prices at will at a time of a destabilized supply/demand curve would therefore result in economic repercussions throughout the region and considerable hardship on the local population.

There would of course then be an increase in crime as some consumers would feel driven to loot and otherwise obtain unlawfully not only gas but also other commodities. With this comes a surge in violence.

Much needed emergency services and help providers are equally dependent on gasoline for transport of personnel and goods. A sudden surge in gas prices would impede this process and deprive their already tight coffers of funds that are needed to deliver effective aid to the struggling community. Naturally, at some point external aid can be expected to arrive. How much time this process will take will of course depend on the location and the nature of the emergency.

There are very many unknowns in this scenario. In many situations some of the above might not be an issue. However, for those few where they are an issue, governments must carry the power to prevent these woes.

It is all a balancing exercise. The pocket of few versus the life, health and safety of many. In my view the latter should win the day.
Debate Round No. 1


DucoNihilum forfeited this round.


Not sure how my opponent did that. Still learning the interface.

Your move again :)
Debate Round No. 2


DucoNihilum forfeited this round.


I have noted that my learned opponent has been online a number of times since my original post.
I wonder if my opponent will present his case. I also hope that, should he choose not to present his case, the reading audience will find my argument sufficiently compelling to give it a vote.

Patiently awaiting my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 3


DucoNihilum forfeited this round.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I will not make a long closing argument. This will be brief.

Please vote Pro.

Thank you
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
I thought he forfeited before it was due.... but you may be right :)
Posted by burningpuppies101 8 years ago
yea, how do you give extensions? and lightkeeper, if you want to know how duco forfeited the round, its cuz he did not post his argument in time.
Posted by Lightkeeper 8 years ago
I'm not bothered. Just not sure how extensions work :s
I'm new here :)
Posted by DucoNihilum 8 years ago
I dont know that im going to get this on on time, could I get an extension of several hours, but no more than 24?
Posted by s0m31john 8 years ago
Nooooo Duco, the greedy capitalists need to stop being to greeeeedy. Whiiiiiiiiiiiiine
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by burningpuppies101 8 years ago
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Total points awarded:07