Charge $5 a gallon for gas and you will be arrested.
Charge Freddie and Fannie’s bad debt to the taxpayer and you will be applauded.
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HOUSTON - From Florida to Tennessee, and all the way up to Connecticut, people far from Hurricane Ike’s destruction nonetheless felt one of its tell-tale aftershocks: gasoline prices that surged overnight — to nearly $5 a gallon in some places.
Fears of supply shortages, and actual fuel-production disruptions, resulting from Ike’s lashing of vital energy infrastructure led to pump price disparities of as much as $1 a gallon in some states, and even on some blocks.
Late Saturday the U.S. Minerals Management Service said there were two confirmed reports of drilling rigs adrift in the central Gulf of Mexico.
Compounding the jitters and higher costs for gasoline retailers was the fact that some big refineries along the Gulf Coast had been shut for nearly two weeks following Hurricane Gustav. Power outages caused by Ike threatened to keep millions of gallons of gasoline output idled for at least several days.
The price of regular gasoline soared as high as $4.99 a gallon in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, up from $3.66 a day earlier.
In Florida, the attorney general’s office reported prices as high as $5.50 a gallon in Tallahassee and said it had received 186 gouging complaints.
Gov. Charles Crist said on Friday that $5 a gallon “can only be described as unconscionable” and added: “Raising rates to exorbitant levels like this only causes unnecessary panic and fear. This type of behavior will not be tolerated.”