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Gas Shortage Across Southeastern U.S.

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Shoved out of the news by the economic debacle and presidential politics is the gasoline shortage that is burying the southeastern United States (Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina). It is impacting every city and town in the region. Of course, it may be that "the powers that be" wouldn't want us looking too closely at the situation anyway. What is happening presages what could happen nationwide under an array of very possible scenarios (blockage of the Strait of Hormuz for example).

Gas lines miles long. People sleeping in their cars over night waiting for a delivery. Fights in gas lines. All off the front pages and top-of-the-news reports. Consigned to sound bites.

Here's a blogger in the area writing about his/her experience at the UNC - Charlotte Earth Club

(Excerpt)Thursday, I drove an hour to find a gas station that had gasoline. I don't mean I drove around in circles all over town, I mean I chose a highway and drove down that highway, passing numerous stations what were completely out of gasoline, for an hour until I found one station- way out in the country- that had gas. You know what else they had? Lines. Really long lines.

Here's a link to the Charlotte Observer photo gallery of the situation, and here's a couple of telling photos.

The lines seem to go on forever ...
(9/26/2008 Motorists line Albemarle Rd. in east Charlotte to get into a Shell station that had fuel Friday afternoon. TODD SUMLIN - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com)

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

And since the various government officials have failed to institute any controls or rationing, what you get is hoarding which exacerbates the problem.
(9/25/08 One customer makes sure he has enough gas by filling several containers as well as his car at The Pop Shoppe at the corner of Woodlawn Rd. and Park Rd. Thursday morning. DAVIE HINSHAW - dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com)

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

Not pictured, but unfortunately likely when people are hoarding gas and storing it at home, are fires.

One might think, from what makes the news on this issue, that the only issue is inconvenience. However, imagine spending hours a week to try and get gas for normal transportation. What is happening to deliveries to say grocery stores? How many folks are going to businesses? How many folks are missing work, and losing income - if not jobs? Where are the children of these people waiting in the lines; pushing their cars in the line? How many situations are there like Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College which closed because too many of its 25,000 students just couldn't get to class?

We should be seeing this, and thinking seriously about what we are facing as a nation, when oil supplies fail.
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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and Editor in Chief of Cyrano's Journal Today.

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