Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Fuel Crisis Hits Western North Carolina

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AC-T: "A gas shortage that closed some stations and caused lines at others could last through the Labor Day weekend and beyond, Asheville city and Buncombe County officials warned at a press conference this afternoon.

It could take six days for fuel to flow as normal from the Gulf of Mexico, officials said."
"The city and county have asked their employees to take time off or work from home if possible.

Both governments have eliminated nonessential travel, and will concentrate fuel expenditures on dealing with public health and safety issues.

"Be sure that you know there's a need to conserve and for the consumer to make your choices about what are essential uses of your vehicles," Asheville Mayor Charles Worley said. "Use public transportation."
"Gov. Mike Easley in a press conference this afternoon said the state also would eliminate all nonessential travel by employees. Easley urged people to conserve gas through the busy, holiday weekend."

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOn my way home from work tonight at 6pm, most gas stations had their pumps bagged. Those with gas left had premium only, and the lines were dozens of cars long. I haven't been able to ascertain how widespread the fuel shortages are, but President Bush has ordered the release of 700 million barrels of our nation's strategic reserves.

"The government's emergency petroleum stockpile — nearly 700 million barrels of oil stored in underground salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast — was established to cushion oil markets during energy disruptions.

The production and distribution of oil and gas remained severely disrupted by the shutdown of a key oil import terminal off the coast of Louisiana and by the Gulf region's widespread loss of electricity, which is needed to power pipelines and refineries.

The Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to avert a severe supply crunch, announced it would temporarily allow the sale of higher-polluting gasoline in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi because those states can't provide enough fuel to consumers that meets Clean Air Act requirements."

Brian Hopkins relayed the following information via the city's press conference this evening:
"Buncombe County, where I live, just held a press conference informing the citizens that we have to think of conservation. Best case scenario is that the gas will return to normal in 7 days. Three to restore power to the pumping stations, three to pump the gas to the distribution centers in upstates South Carolina, and one day to truck it back into the area. That is just best case. This will be a very interesting time."

Biodiesel stations are, of course, pumping without any interruption, and there may be a few trucks that'll turn up here and there, but everyone will need to conserve their fuel.

What have you been seeing?

UPDATE - In the previous comment thread Ash asks, "Is there a way we can pool our resources to help one another? Post updates on what gas stations are closed, which have the cheapest gas? Alerts of car pools, other conservation measures? What else?"


Lucia said...

I went to get gas at about 4:30pm on Merrimon in North Asheville, where I was treated to the vocal stylings of an insanely angry man who called me all sorts of truly horrible names and left me in tears, all because he thought I had cut line. I didn't cut line, I had waited behind a line of four cars, but this man thought his longer line on the other side was the dominant line- whatever. It was horrible. I have never, ever, been called such things. Mind you, I did nothing to encourage his rage, unless you count trying to explain my situation and asking nicely that he not speak to me that way.

He was clean cut, about fifty years old, and otherwise totally normal. He said he was going to get my license plate number (for what? Suspected line cutting? I could have gotten his for abuse) and at one point screamed desperately "Some of us have to get to South Asheville!" Like that's across the Himilayas.

An ugly, ugly scene. I could barely drive my car away I was shaking so badly.

modpez said...

"He was clean cut, about fifty years old, and otherwise totally normal." watch out for these types. OTN (otherwise totally normal) is the sickness of our times. they elected bush & i think would do it again. walking time-bombs.

Edgy Mama said...

Sheesh, Lucia, that's horrible.

Ash, have you added gas rage to your prediction posts?

Edgy Mama said...

Thanks for the update, Screwy!