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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/27/08

Gas Shortage and Gas Lines in Georgia

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Follow Me on Twitter     Message William Cormier

I live approximately 45 miles north of downtown Atlanta, and the situation for the Greater Atlanta Area is miserable. Most of the gas stations have no gas, and when they do receive a shipment, the gas lines begin and don't end until the station runs dry. Naturally, even though President Bush promised that Americans wouldn't get gouged by inflated gas prices, we in Georgia now know that was another of Bush's hollow promises. I checked the daily price of gas, and while Georgia doesn't show up as the highest, we're darn close! I suspect that the figures are based on state-wide tallies, therefore unrepresentative of the Atlanta area in particular - especially in the outlying suburbs.

On Triple A's "Daily Fuel Gauge Report", the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded was listed at $3.967 for the State of Georgia - which now places Georgia as the 3rd Highest gas prices in the United States. Also, the price per gallon is based on a state-wide average, and I assure you, gas prices in the Atlanta area are in many cases, 20 to 30 cents per gallon higher than what is indicated on AAA's website. Luckily, TV Crews were dispatched to the scene of some of the gougers, and in each case, helped to bring down the prices. The media is partially blaming it on a panicked public, some of which may be true - but seems to be deteriorating rather than getting better. Picture yourself with an important Doctors appointment, or for millions, that trip to work, and you look at you gas gauge and wonder whether you'll run out of gas before you find a station has gas or diesel fuel.

There are reports people are following gas tankers, which in some cases can turn out to be a lengthy trip, people who desperately need gas are having to pay for the extra miles attempting to stay ahead of a gas shortage that seems to worsening by the day with no real assurances that the end is in sight. Some run out of gas while they are looking and often run-out waiting in line when they do find a station with gas. With our tanks running low, what are we supposed to do? Panic is never the answer for anything, plus it adds to gas prices that are already too high. Those who have an Internet connection can often locate stores with gas, and some radio stations are announcing when gas is available in some areas. When people begin failing to show-up at work, and families are finding it hard to find the gas for a trip to the store, that's when real panic would set in, and I'm sure that the government is studying the effects of a short-term (or long, who knows...) gasoline shortage. It would seem that this gas shortage should be a short-term crisis, and for some who live in this area that commute to work, calling it a crisis isn't being melodramatic, but acknowledging that depending on your commute mileage per day, this issue affects some families much harder than others.

Those of us who live in rural areas find it extremely hard to cope; the first station is only a mile away, out of gas - and I don't know what's beyond there. There is no public transportation, so running out of gas is exceptionally hard to deal with when it may be miles and miles until emergency gas can be found. There were Doctor appointments and another hospitalization today, so we were in the Gainesville, Ga., area north of Atlanta. On the route we took, which led us straight through downtown to reach Gainesville Medical Center we only saw one Texaco station that had gas, the lines were short, and when I dropped someone off for an appointment, I went straight back to the Texaco and bought gas. We were in Gainesville, and hours later as we passed the Texaco, we noted they were out of gas. There was a Citgo within a half of a mile, and they did have gas and fairly long lines and I realized I had been lucky earlier in the afternoon. The price I paid, and seemed to be consistent with what I witnessed, was $4.09.999 for regular unleaded.

This morning, The Washington Post published an article that does not appear to be based in reality - and for those who read it, please understand that it is grossly incorrect and is not representative of the true state of the gas crisis in Atlanta and the surrounding areas:

Gas Shortage In the South Creates Panic, Long Lines

If Drivers Can Fill Up, They Get Sticker Shock

By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 26, 2008;

In Atlanta, half of the gasoline stations were closed, according to AAA, which said the supply disruptions had taken place along two major petroleum product pipelines that have operated well below capacity since the hurricanes knocked offshore oil production and several refineries out of service along the Gulf of Mexico.

Drivers in Charlotte reported lines with as many as 60 cars waiting to fill up late Wednesday night, and a community college in Asheville, N.C., where most of the 25,000 students commute, canceled classes and closed down Wednesday afternoon for the rest of the week. Shortages also hit Nashville, Knoxville and Spartanburg, S.C., AAA said.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue provoked some angry comments on the Atlanta Journal Constitution Web site, which quoted him as saying that "there is ample fuel in the city" and that some of the panic was "self-induced." MUCH MORE

First, very few if any gas stations are "closed." They are open, but display signs that they are out of gas. If only 50% of Atlanta's gas stations were out of gas, it wouldn't be a crisis. The Washington Post Story, for reasons I don't understand, is presenting a picture of the Atlanta gas crisis which is misleading and attempts to spin the reality of just how bad it is here. It's also possible that they may consider a station to be "open" because they have received gas in a set number our hours or days, however, as stated earlier, a station that receives gas usually runs out in a matter of hours, so the definition of "open" is vague and not representative of the truth.

From driving down the road in different communities, we found that one out of ten stations might have gas at any any given time, and all had lines and soon were out again. QuickTrip, which claims to have 50% of their stations "open" failed to mention that only 28 out of their 111 stations had gas; those numbers can fluctuate based on gas deliveries - and to its credit, QuickTrip has maintained a few "flagship" stations that never run out of gas - and if you know where they are, gas is available. The careful management of QuickTrip has made the gas shortage easier to bear for those that are familiar with their stations, and it's this type of management in a crisis that our government could learn and benefit from.

In the same article, it states:

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue provoked some angry comments on the Atlanta Journal Constitution Web site, which quoted him as saying that "there is ample fuel in the city" and that some of the panic was "self-induced."

There is not ample fuel in the city, and a for the surrounding areas, it may be worse. People are now starting to miss work, and that impacts the economy in general for the entire metro Atlanta area. Hundreds, or perhaps thousands of gas stations have no gas. Many of the larger stations are operating with skeleton crews, attempting to save on labor costs while their stores are in a lull. Business has dropped-off at every gas station in Atlanta, but their costs are fixed, so economically, those who own and operate these stations are taking a financial beating right now, and the end isn't in sight. If our Governor had to find his own gas and was compelled to do so on incomes that are not keeping up with inflation - his story would change; it seems that our Governor doesn't have a complete picture as to what's happening right under his nose, or in the alternative, doesn't care enough about the people to acknowledge that this is a crisis - and it's costing the people of Atlanta a lot of time and money.

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My Bio is as varied as my life. In 2012, my twin sons murdered a Journalist in Pensacola, Fl., for 100K worth of "Magic The Gathering" playing cards and buried the body in my backyard. I was once a regular writer here, but PTSD from my son's (more...)

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