Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gas Panic Hits Georgia

(note: this is a dual-authored post. See below for updates. genie is reporting on the situation in South/Mid GA., where he lives, and Garm is doing the same up in the Atlanta Metro Area)

Rumors are flying, but the word on the street is that gas stations are running out of gas because of the hurricane. All over South GA they're stacked five to ten deep on each pump waiting to fill up because at 4pm they're shutting down. No more gas. At least for the day. Prices are above 3 dollars a gal. There's talk of rationing. More updates if I get them. -genie junkie

Update: Governor calls for calm. Here's a two-hour old report on the circumstances. -genie junkie

Update: It's even worse in the ATL and the AMA. Here's the report from an Atlanta news station:

Hurricane Katrina knocked out power to two pipelines that bring gas and jet fuel into the region. The lines have been down for two days while the Metro typically holds onto a 10-day supply of gasoline.
Governor Perdue said he contacted the state's gas distributors Wednesday morning and has been assured that they are working to address the supply problem. He said that a significant amount of the state's gas supplies are not affected because they arrive at the port, not by pipeline.

"To further ease the supply problem, we have temporarily waived the fuel additive requirements to expand the supply of gasoline," he said. The EPA approved the request to waive the additive, which allows for more types of fuel to come into the metro area.

Local news outlets are NOT reporting that the pumps are to be shut down at any specific time, at least in the AMA, but logic suggests that when the tanks run dry, the pumps will too. People are rushing to stations to hoard gas, which is NOT helping any of us, according to GA. Gov. Sonny Perdue. Word on the street and eyes-on experience saw long lines in the burbs and out in West Georgia, including one gas station patron filling at least 15 3 gallon gas containers. Will update. -Garm

Update: Local TV news is showing video of a few gas stations literally changing their prices by the minute, in a couple of cases as high as $5+ per gallon. Is this gouging? I don't know, and no one in the local media has said anything, but I have yet to see any "big name" stations (BP, QT, etc.) doing this yet. Cancel that. Just saw a BP with $5.87 posted. -Garm

Update: Governor Purdue at his press conference denounces any price gouging and urges patience, conservation. Ironically, some stations are lowering their prices, thus gaining more customers. IMHO, this "panic" is temporary; unfortunately, not everyone has gotten the message here in the ATL. Here's hoping people will take a deep breath overnight and be a little more thoughtful tomorrow. According to local interviews with gas station patrons, most of the "panic" is word-of-mouth/Internet gossip. Their panic over a possible gas shortage is actually creating that shortage, or at least snowballing its creation. -Garm

Update: Similar panic has been reported in FL, though it is also reported as false. -Garm

Update, Day 2: In the AMA local media is still reporting shortages, though IMO and in the opinion of local government agencies, the shortage is mostly due to citizens rushing to the gas stations and also the hoarding of gasoline. The pipelines are back open, though running at much lower capacity; the lines are being run without pumps in Mississippi, which obviously doesn't allow the same amount of flow as a week ago. Petroleum is arriving in Savannah, and officials say that gas supply will normalize by the weekend. The prices will still be elevated somewhat, but price-gouging cases are already being investigated. Like I said yesterday, hopefully people are analyzing the situation and calming down somewhat. Go here for the latest (as of this post) local news -Garm

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