It's understandable to be upset when prices go up suddenly from what they were. It seems unfair if a gas station raises prices on gas they bought cheaply because they know the next gas they'll buy will be much more expensive. This is sometimes referred to as price gouging, but technically speaking it's not. Thomas Sowell criticizes the very notion of price gouging here. He says you should expect prices to go up when a commodity is worth more, even if it didn't cost the vendor any more to get it. It sells for what it's worth. The first thing I thought of as a comparison when I heard people talking about this on the news was the comic book industry. There's a set price for new issues, but it goes up faster than inflation as costs increase for making new issues. The quality of paper, the color detail, and so on has increased over the years. You're paying for more, so you pay much more than inflation would require. That's to be expected.
But it's used comic books that are more parallel to the current gas price increase. Used comic book prices go up according to supply and demand. Rarer comic books are worth more. Ones everyone wants a copy of are worth more. I'm sure that old Star Wars comics go up in price when a new movie is out and go down in between films. Is this price gouging, or is it just selling a comic book according to what it's currently worth? It shouldn't matter that the store owner paid a low price for it before it was worth as much. What they're selling is now worth more and carries a higher price tag. Why should it be different with gas?
I don't like high gas prices, but I don't think it's price gouging. Price gouging would be when people collude en masse to monopolize a price increase, and it doesn't seem as if such mass collusion is going on with gas prices. They're all doing it, but it's not as if every gas station owner got together in some private meeting to decide to increase prices. They just all respond the same way to the market change due to lower supply. I don't see how political solutions will help with this sort of thing. You can't legislate price controls that will make the market price go down. All you can do is make it difficult for small businesses to make a profit on a scarce commodity, which will eventually force them not to provide it anymore. That won't happen on a relatively minor scarcity, as we have now (the oil reserves the oil companies already have should be sufficient to counteract it if necessary). It's the principle of price controls that I think are a bad idea, at least in general. Also, see the above-linked Sowell piece for some arguments why price controls actually harm the consumer by making shortages worse. It's not just about the business owner.