Photo by Robert LZ
We here at TreeHugger have not covered much on the gas shortage situation occurring over on the southeast end of the US, in particular the Atlanta area, Nashville, Carolinas, and parts of Alabama (Anniston). The actual shortage itself occurred around two weeks after Hurricane Gustov terrorized the gulf coast on September 1st, 2008. Just as Gustav finished up his huffing and puffing, Hurricane Ike stepped in, forcing another shut down of oil rigs.
Cause of Gas Shortage
It would be just too easy to blame these two bad wolfs for the entire gas shortage. In truth, much of this is somewhat of a second tier symptom of the storm related power outages in Texas, which prevented pipelines from pumping gas. The fear of the shortage then brought panic amongst its customers who in turn all topped off their tanks, brought in their RV's, motorcycles, ride-on lawnmowers, topped them off, then filled another 6 to 10 external tanks with fuel, and before you knew it, panic became a reality.
Symptoms of Shortage
Just a few weeks ago in Charlotte, North Carolina, police forces was dispatched in pairs to several gas stations in order to control thefts and fights. Lines of people trying to fill their vehicle stretched for miles and hours. Today, the common site of yellow bags placed on fuel pumps handles is still a common sight. Some people are forced to travel to as many as 20 gas stations in their area before finding one with available gas.
Government offices, schools, and businesses were forced to close their doors for a few days during this crisis, as workers, faculty members, and students were unable to find enough fuel to get where they needed to be. When people got wind of a delivery truck coming in to a station, there was already a line of people waiting for it by the time it dropped its hoses for dumping.
Relief is on its Way
While the rigs are back up and running without glitch, the problem the Southeast is facing now, is essentially playing catch up. Experts are saying that the Southeast can expect at least another week or two of shortage, but then things should be pretty much back to normal. Until then, most people have put their lives on hold, choosing to limit their travels from work and back. Many locals have resorted to using Twitter in order to find gas in their area.
The South would have been capable of handling one blow-hard hurricane, but two... no chance! Hang in there Southeast America, things are getting a little better every day.
USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2008-09-28-Gas-shortage_N.htm