COMMENTARY: Market forces can help discourage coronavirus panic buying and replenish store shelves

For all the photos and social media posts that have been documenting long lineups and product shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s interesting to note that none of them have involved gas stations or petroleum products.

Gasoline is remarkably cheap at the moment — and plentiful. That’s in sharp contrast to, for example, toilet paper. If you’re lucky enough to find toilet paper at the moment, you’re likely to be paying more for it than you might have a few weeks or months ago — at least for the time being.

While the low gasoline prices are most welcome and the toilet paper situation is most frustrating, both are byproducts of the same market forces: supply and demand.

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