CommunityPam's House Blend

Already critical: gas shortages in NC

Following up on my earlier post today about rising gas prices by the hour around the country (keep on adding your local prices in the comments, folks!).

House Blender Cat sent me a link to an Asheville Citizen-Times article that’s pretty scary, related to all the driving people do on the Labor Day weekend. There are already gas shortages because of Katrina, and state officials are asking people to stay home and keep cars off the road (and away from the pumps).

Some of this shortage is caused by panic buying, but no one can say how long this will be a problem, since the supply is limited because of the aftermath of Katrina.

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. Of the county’s nearly 100 gas stations, more than 20 have run dry. “If you drive too much, you will run out,” Asheville Mayor Charles Worley said. The city and county have asked their employees to take time off or work from home if possible. “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.”

…Gas shortages have overtaken parts of the country because of Hurricane Katrina’s disruption of Gulf Coast gasoline suppliers. Some major Gulf Coast energy companies have been plagued by floods and power outages that have made it impossible to produce and distribute fuel.

Buncombe County Commissioner David Gantt said county employees have been urged to take comp and sick time to lessen the number of cars on the roads. “It will probably be several days, under the best of circumstances, before we get things back to the way they should be,” Gantt said. “We have been through floods, we’ve been through blizzards; it will go away. “This is a temporary problem. I ask the people to be patient and to treat each other with respect.”

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.

..Motorists around Asheville and Western North Carolina have found lines and outages, with some stations limiting sales. Sherry Watson, manager of the Exxon North Asheville, said drivers have begun to worry and the station has sold out of regular- and plus-grade gasoline.

A survey of area stations found gas priced at more than $4 for a gallon of regular unleaded. I’m not surprised at this in western NC. I don’t know how soon the Triangle area will experience this.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding