Gas Shortage in the South Creates Panic, Long Lines

While Ike was a lot less damaging than he could have been, it turns out that he did wreak enough havoc to create a severe gas shortage across the southeast.

I raise this for two reasons.

One, this can't be helping the mood down there...running out of gas is both shocking and distinctly un-American.

Two, this just shows what happens to complex delivery networks that operate on a just-in-time delivery basis.

[quote]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.

Terrance Bragg, a chef in Charlotte, made it to work only because his grandfather drove from a town an hour away with a 5-gallon plastic container of fuel for him. Three of his co-workers called and said they couldn't make it.

"I drove past nine or ten gasoline stations that were out of gas," Bragg said. "I had my GPS up looking for any gas in the area, from the mom-and-pop places to the corporate gas stations. Nothing. They were all taped off."[/quote]

Link (Washington Post)


I don't think the issue was oil supply, because destroying 13,000 barrels a day out of 1 million+ that come from the Gulf is really not that big a deal.

[quote]Offshore Infrastructure Destroyed – As of September 23, 2008, 52 of the 3,800 offshore oil and gas production platforms, three jack-up drilling rigs, and one platform drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico have been destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Initial estimates are that the 52 destroyed production platforms produced a total of 13,300 barrels of oil per day and 90 million cubic feet of gas per day...Currently, MMS has no information on whether any of the destroyed platforms will be rebuilt by any operator. [/quote]

Link (Scandinavian Oil & Gas Magazine)


The issue, I suppose was actually the electricity to the refiners themselves.

Nonetheless, this issue of running out of gas could contribute to another tiny loss-of-faith in the robustness of our particular model of capitalism (where extra gasoline is not stored nearby because of the carrying costs).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at



An nothing else needs be said.



The only thing that is going to really stimulate our economy is to get the price of fuel down. Everything is affected by the high cost of fuel. We need to utilize natural sources such as wind energy, solar energy and increase our use of advanced technological knowledge to reduce our use of fossil fuels such as v2g , hybrid and electric plug in cars,generative braking, flex fuels, bio fuels etc. We have the knowledge and the technology. What we seem to be lacking is a government actively seeking solutions. Interesting book coming out soon called "The Manhattan Project of 2009" by Jeff Wilson. We need to be more proactive and demand our elected officials do more to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

I gased up today for 3.31/gal. Move on down here guys!

Here, a little south of Nashville, it was dicey for a few days last weekend. The local news had stories about the shortage on Friday and the buying really took off. Lots of long lines, stations going empty in a few hour’s time. Folks were decent about it, though. I didn’t see folks upset or anything. It was strangely bonding in a communal way, actually. So last weekend was tight, but by Monday things had settled a bit. At any one time (even now a week later) you will have dry stations, but there is at least one other station in a decent driving radius that has something in the tanks. After the panic (seemed more like ‘cautionary’ to me) buying of last weekend, folks didn’t feel the need to swarm like locust on a station that had gas. So it’s more of a round-robin deal finding gas. Inconvenient, but certainly not crippling. Of course folks don’t like it, but it’s settled into a topic of conversation more than anything- like the weather or something. You talk about it, you half-heartedly complain about it, you shrug and you live with it. This will be the new American way of dealing with things as the ball of yarn unwinds.


One day I hope you will collect the data and run the numbers. To paraphrase Kunstler "… there is no combination of alternative and renewable fuels that will allow us to run our suburban / automobile based society in its current configuration." While wind and solar will play an important part in our future, most techno fix solutions have unintended consequences that end up putting society farther behind the energy power curve. We simply use too much energy. The only real solution is to, first massive conservation program, second reconfigure suburbia (if that is even possible) so that we don’t need the personal car, and third return to locally grown food on small poly-culture based farms. In the food production area - our goal should be 80-90 percent of our food is transported no more than a 100 miles to market. Not the 1500 miles items in the grocery currently average.

I could go on and on, but I hope you get the gist of what I’m trying to say.

I’ve been an Advanced Energy Theorist since '73 so evaluating each "Plan" has been a life-long undertaking. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Energy tax deductions for large and small wind, solar and alternative production. Large production wind farms can still be destroyed in hurricanes but small production wind & solar can supply filtration power for drinking water and survival situation needs. Farms need to be de-regulated so they can produce on-farm energy since food production is a high priority - methane, bio-gas and ethanol all need farm-status production. If ethanol is the answer - then the question was "how will food be
produced in an energy deficit economy". Energy for food production has
to come from the farmers themselves. Cost of production equipment will "lock in" their price of energy to produce food and help stablize future prices (but not future demand). Food Production now accounts for nearly 17% of energy consumption. Nuclear won’t be built in time to keep the whole system from crashing and isn’t the answer in the long run (though I have seen some impressive battery technologies come from the use of waste as a power source).

Personal Conservation is key and every product that uses energy needs re-evaluation and replacements need to be found. For example: lawns are a huge consumer of chemicals and low consuption of gas for mowers. As gas prices rise, people will replace some part of all lawns with sqaure foot gardening and the rest with low maintenance low growing grass. Heating needs require serious modifications. The quickest/easiest I’ve seen are where black roofs collect heat inside the attic and heat exchanges running off solar powered fans move the heat to living spaces. Granted, this only works for 60% of the time during spring & fall- and winters in the far north need sources of heat but for under $250 over the 20 year life of the system means a 20% to 30% reduction of heating needs yearly (could be up to 100% in the mid-states). Ditto goes for the solar attic fans that cool the attic and reduce AC needs. Other new technologies will emerge as "personal comfort clothing" as we heat living areas less and wear more appropriate clothing to fit the environment. An additional measure is to heavily tax energy that is being used so alternatives become more attractive faster.

Transportation needs to be broken down:

Traveling via plane will naturally become cost prohibited except for a few. I have seen some non-fuel designs that could emerge but the full development of the technology could take 50 or more years.

Trains will be used for long distances as this is the most efficent form of moving people and non-perishable items. Buses will most likely play a larger part of moving people short distances from town to town.

Perishable items must be produced within the 100 mile radius of consumption. Perishable items must be encouraged to be produced by the consumer (grow a part of their own food).

Personal transportation also needs to be broken down to new details. The Ed Bagley system of walking as much as possible is not what suburbians would most likely adopt but walking to public transportation is do-able. Biking is the next level with add-ons like electric bikes and motor powered bikes being next up on the scale of distance. I think we will see the glorification of the powered biking systems in the next few years and bikes built for top speeds of 30 mpg to go 150 miles a run will start to dominate the roads. There are less costs associated with not driving so the savings to the consumer is huge. No tax or licenses on wheels. I’ve also been watchig the development of some new technologies that I want to personally invest in so until I’ve bought in, I won’t be talking about it much. I can say, hybred technology is not in the plan of my buying or investing. I see the cost prohibited until gas is at $10/gal since a person would need to spend nearly $500/month on energy to justify the price. Most people would resort to other alternatives before they pay that plus the add-on costs (still uses gas, taxes and insurance).

I think we will be seeing a much healthier population in the future and hopefully, it’s all good.


EndGamePlayer - setting up for the new game- Energy Empowered People.