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Gas Shortage, Panic Hits Charlotte, NC

Yes folks, it is true what you’ve been hearing the past couple of days.  We here in the Queen City are without gasoline.  Of course it is affecting the normal folks like me who just want to fill up the tank.  But it is also impacting schools (they are closed — buses can’t fill up), and law enforcement (imagine calling 911 and being told “we can’t come — no fuel).

Drivers across the Charlotte region are waiting patiently — and, in some cases, impatiently — for a promised large shipment of gasoline expected to reach the Queen City by afternoon.

But the lines and traffic disruptions that dominated on Thursday continue this morning, with people in some cases having parked at gas stations overnight, waiting near the pumps with their tanks on empty. As was the case yesterday, arguments and scuffles are breaking out as frustrations boil over.

At about 8:30 this morning, a woman in line at a Citgo station in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood neighborhood told others in line she was saving a place for her father, who was on his way with gas cans. The station, at Parkwood Avenue and The Plaza, was selling only premium gas. The wait was about 45 minutes.

When I flew back into Charlotte-Douglas Airport last night, I went quickly to hunt out three gas stations I know about near the airport.  All pumps were closed and police were guarding the businesses.

PatriotMom reported witnessing yesterday a foreign invader (Florida tags) butt in front of the whole gas line at a station in South Carolina and people getting quite angry.

I had planned to get some photos of gas lines (they are miles long) today.  People are lining up at a station at there mere rumor that a tanker truck is on its way with petrol.

This photo is courtesy of the Charlotte Observer — but I don’t live very far from this gas station in South Charlotte.

However, my own gas tank is so low that I don’t have the luxury yet of going out until I know for sure there is a guarantee I’ll get gas.   I will take my camera with me though in case I have to sit in a long line later this weekend.

Why is all this happening in Charlotte this week, you may ask?

The shortage is caused by the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast this month, disrupting refinery production. Refineries had enough fuel in reserve to stock southeastern pumps for a week or so, but it ran out before the refineries could get back to full production.

The Charlotte area is served by the Colonial pipeline, which told Carolinas officials yesterday that they were delivering a large shipment of fuel to Spartanburg, S.C., and that an even larger shipment would arrive in Charlotte this afternoon. N.C. Gov. Mike Easley asked several oil companies to release additional supplies from Tennessee and Wilmington.

Remind me again why Democrats are opposed to drilling US oil reserves?

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

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19 Comments

  1. Looks like Atlanta here. I got my gas at 2am, but only had to wait in line 5 minutes. Just rediculous.

    Comment by The other Peter H — September 26, 2008 @ 2:03 pm - September 26, 2008

  2. “Remind me again why Democrats are opposed to drilling US oil reserves?”

    HAHAHA that is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. What does drilling have to do with supply and demand after a hurricane. Shell, Mobil, and others a posting RECORD PROFITS and it’s not because they are running out!

    Comment by m — September 26, 2008 @ 3:02 pm - September 26, 2008

  3. Harry Reid tried to use the bailout to sneak in a ban on shale oil exploration.

    Comment by American Elephant — September 26, 2008 @ 3:22 pm - September 26, 2008

  4. m,

    You’re joking arent you? Surely, you arent really that ignorant?

    Comment by American Elephant — September 26, 2008 @ 3:22 pm - September 26, 2008

  5. What does drilling have to do with supply and demand after a hurricane.

    Because when oil production is concentrated in one part of the country, and that’s the part that gets hit by hurricanes, you lose production when hurricanes hit.

    Dumbass.

    Comment by V the K — September 26, 2008 @ 3:32 pm - September 26, 2008

  6. Still no gas in South Carolina….long lines, furious people. Somone cut into a line and police man asked them to go to the back, when they did not, he removed his gun and persuaded them.
    The pipeline is only running 10 miles an hour to fillup the refineries. We put the shuttle up i the air, can’t we figure out how to increase the speed of this crude oil.

    Comment by PatriotMom — September 26, 2008 @ 4:09 pm - September 26, 2008

  7. We put the shuttle up i the air, can’t we figure out how to increase the speed of this crude oil.

    Sure, but the Democrats won’t let us. Harry Reid tried to slip a prohibition on extracting shale oil from the Rocky Mountains into the latest “Stimulus” Plan. Last I saw, hurricanes were not a problem in the Rocky Mountains.

    Comment by V the K — September 26, 2008 @ 4:21 pm - September 26, 2008

  8. Damn, when did I step into the way-back machine with Mr. Sherman and go to 1974?

    HAHAHA that is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. What does drilling have to do with supply and demand after a hurricane.

    Quick lesson:

    More drilling and more refining means more supply of gas.

    More supply of gas = lees chance of shortage.

    Right now, in order to keep up with demand, refineries are typically running at over 90 % efficiency and don’t have the capacity to convert more crude to gas. Therefore, more refineries = lower normal operating capacity = higher emergency output abilities to cope with shortages caused by natural disasters.

    More refineries, spread across nation = larger production capacity to cover for regional disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes.damage.

    Hope that makes sense.

    PS. And no, drill here, drill now doesn’t help much right now, but ten years from now – You Betcha!

    Comment by sonicfrog.net — September 26, 2008 @ 4:56 pm - September 26, 2008

  9. Even if we were to drill offshore (which I think would help gas prices) I don’t think it would prevent the shortage. The shortage comes from three things:
    People’s reaction to a crisis – in this case the supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Ike.
    Anti-price gouging laws that do not allow the price of gas to go up in response to the shortage in supply (or the increase in demand). If the price were allowed to go up, then those people who *don’t* really need gas, wouldn’t buy it. And there’d be gas for those who really did need it.
    Formulation laws that prevent multiple vendors relationships to take place when the supply is disrupted from one vendor.Get rid of both #2 & #3 and #1 won’t matter.

    Comment by mjh — September 26, 2008 @ 6:59 pm - September 26, 2008

  10. This isn’t a shortage of crude; it’s a shortage of gasoline. Refineries are concentrated in the Houston area and had to shut down which means that reserve stocks are drawn down (from the pipeline, tank farms).

    As sonic says, refineries (of which we need more) need to be spread out a bit.

    Can you imagine the fallout if the Colonial pipeline were to fail?

    Patriot Mom: ten MPH seems slow but there are millions of pounds of fuel moving in that pipeline at any given time. The flow rate is set so that the pipeline, valves, and pumping stations can be operated safely. Once you get millions of pounds of fuel moving, you just can’t stop it if something goes wrong.

    I wonder how much worse this situation has been made by panic buying.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — September 26, 2008 @ 7:17 pm - September 26, 2008

  11. Bruce – is there any rationing (maximum/minimum purchases)? Or are people just filling up until the stations run out?

    Comment by SoCalRobert — September 26, 2008 @ 7:18 pm - September 26, 2008

  12. Here in the midlands of South Carolina this has been going on for about two weeks. Michelin has had to temporarily shut down some plants because of the lack of some key chemicals. The solution is more refinery capacity in different locations. However, the NIMBY attitude will prevent it from happening.

    Comment by Swampfox — September 26, 2008 @ 8:36 pm - September 26, 2008

  13. We need to find alternative energy sources so that the US does not depend on other countries to keep us going !

    Comment by Bonz — September 26, 2008 @ 11:26 pm - September 26, 2008

  14. #6- PatriotMom,

    Actually, we have increased the speed of oil in the pipelines tremendously over the years. It is just that it is a surprisingly difficult problem that is extremely technical to solve. The company I used to work for provided state-of-the-art monitoring devices to a major company to monitor the complex combination of additives that help the oil move through the pipeline faster. This combination of chemicals needs to be exceedingly precise and is everchanging as conditions in the pipes change. Minor fluctuations cause major slowdowns and they need to add the chemicals at the beginning, alter them as necessary, and take them out of the oil (another surprisingly complex process) at the end.

    The real solution is that new, wider-diameter pipelines need to be built. But that is 1-hugely expensive, 2-not particularly profitable, even with the higher gas prices and 3-NEVER going to happen if the companies think there is even a chance that the government is going to do some kind of ‘windfall profits’ punishment taxation.

    Comment by DinaFelice — September 27, 2008 @ 12:10 am - September 27, 2008

  15. The problem is not *necessarily* drilling. The problem is the stranglehold environmental lobbyists have on refinery building. The environmental lobby has lied to the average voter to encourage NIMBY (and not just on refinery builidng, but on nuclear power, wind farms, and clean coal). If you want to reduce the threat of gas shortages, then we must *aggressively* go after BOTH environmental activists and the organizations they are representing (take “go after” any way you like). Alternative fuels/energy sources are great and have the potential to be profitable,but we need energy in the interim. Granted, we can cut back on our usage, but that still leaves loud-mouthed environmentalists. As a people, we must go after them whenever and wherever possible.

    Comment by J — September 27, 2008 @ 3:39 pm - September 27, 2008

  16. Y’all had 6 years of a Republican controlled congress and white house to get your way. Stop whining if they didn’t do what you wanted along with the rest of the messes they created.

    Comment by Kevin — September 27, 2008 @ 6:48 pm - September 27, 2008

  17. That anything was 6 years is your cross to bear not mine.

    That empty rhetoric impresses no one but the idiotic cliche-loving Leftards

    Comment by Vince P — September 27, 2008 @ 9:01 pm - September 27, 2008

  18. This looks like the beginning of the conquest agenda of the New World Order…google “population reduction”…and America is prime target #1…look at the thousands of websites that report thousands of white UN military and transport UN vehicles hidden all of over the US in military storage facilities, and well guarded…and the thousands of UN troops already in the US, and have been here for about 14 years!….think im bullshitting? google all this and you’ll see the truth…even the San Fran Chronicle reporeted on the thousands of Fema/concentration camps all over the US and Canada…and the thousands of trains with box cars that are fit with metal shackles…

    Comment by seeker — September 28, 2008 @ 5:18 pm - September 28, 2008

  19. I WAS IN MYRTLE BEACH LAST SUNDAY NO SHORTAGES THERE HOWEVER AS SOON AS I CROSSED INTO NC “NO GAS”. I WOULD BET THAT THERE WOULD BE NO SHORTAGES IN NY,LA, OR ANY OTHER CITY NORTH OF THE MASON DIXON LINE!

    Comment by Mickey K. — September 29, 2008 @ 8:08 am - September 29, 2008

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