Price gouging...what exactly does that mean? I charge more for emergency service and don't feel one bit guilty about it...it's essentially a priority service surcharge. If someone calls up and wants me to drop what I'm doing to come clear a tree that fell across their driveway so they can get to work, I'm gonna charge them more.
There's a LCO in my area that charges a lot to do anything. To have a leaf pile picked up is a minimum of $250. His mowing rates are a minimum of $45 and that gets you 15 minutes. After that it's $3/minute. Snow plowing he's at a minimum of $50 for the first 6 minutes and then $7/minute after that.
My point is, who is to say what gouging is when one company may charge 2 or 3 times what another one does. And as far as commodities go, price is ruled by supply and demand...when demand goes up price typically does too. If you want my last gallon of water after a natural disaster, you're gonna have to pay me a pretty hefty price for it!!!!