Sunday, September 21, 2008

Running on empty

When Katrina hit New Orleans, in Atlanta we were hit with a rare problem--we ran out of gas. In one day all of the gas stations ran out of gas, some stations running up the price to $6.00 per gallon before they shut down the pumps. But within a few days, gas was running again and we were back to our normal ways.

When Ike hit Texas last weekend we found ourselves in a similar situation. Gas stations were running out of gas. Only this time, more than a week has passed and instead of getting better, it seems to be getting worse. Some gas stations near us waited nearly five days to get their first shipment of gas in only to sell out again in two hours. Today, we passed over a dozen gas stations in a ten mile stretch and only one had gas. The line was stretched all the way down well into the street as people waited and hoped to get the only gas for ten miles. Angry horns were honking and traffic was getting tied up as cars wouldn't allow traffic past them for fear of someone cutting into line.

I'm just glad I don't still drive my Infiniti SUV. That car protested profusely when I tried to cheap out and put anything other than premium in it. That wouldn't be happening these days. On the rare occasion I do see gas, I only see regular. It's been 1.5 weeks since I've seen a gas station with any higher grade.

Price has never really deterred us from changing our habits with gas consumption. When prices went up we complained a bit, but we didn't change our ways. This week, for the first time ever, we actually thought about our trips. Price may not deter us but availability certainly does. When you think you may not actually be able to replace the gas in your tank and may find yourself stranded with two young kids, you start to think twice about whether a trip is really necessary. We skipped our beloved weekly trivia game with friends as that would consume nearly 1/4 of a tank. It seemed frivolous under the circumstances.

Here's hoping our supply is back to normal again soon. I'm wondering what the supply is like in the rest of the country. Are the pumps keeping up with demand where you are?

Update 9/22: Here is a link to a CNN story talking about this issue. For a time, CNN actually had my blog linked to this story today. How cool is that? I had over 300 hits coming directly from CNN to my little old blog to see my story.


Fullerton Family said...

Wow, how grateful I am that I live in AZ! Not only do we have plenty of gas, but our prices are down to $3.29! (Sad that we consider that a GOOD price!) Hope you guys get gas soon! (that sounds weird, you know what I mean!)

London said...

Wow, that's crazy, we're not that far from Atlanta, but we didn't have any problem getting gas.

Karen said...

There are definitely some stations around here that don't have gas and others only have the regular grade (no middle or premium). I think that we got price gouged here big time!

Mountain Mom said...

Here at Altitude, gas is always about 20 cents more than gas everywhere else. I hear they do that because it takes a little more effort to get the gas to us. Whatever. I say that's lame, since they have to go over the mountains to drive the gas to other places in the country, so that theory has got some major holes in it. Anyway, we have always been fairly thoughtful about our trips anywhere. If I go to Denver, it's never just for one thing, it usually ends up to be several things and it's an all-day affair. You can see why it was such a big deal for us to get a decent sized grocery store in our tiny town. It used to take me about 45 minutes on a good day just to get groceries. Ah, the price we pay for living in such treacherous beauty. LOL!

MomMega said...

Oh my gosh, that is crazy that they are running out of gas!!

With me not working full time anymore, one of the ways that we have saved money is on gas. I've gotten really good and planning my week and where I need to go so that I'm not constantly driving (walking a lot helps, too, but I know that is much easier with only one baby). I've made it into a competition with myself to see how long I can go between filling my tank. I'm on my fourth week and have only used a quarter of a tank! Good luck with the gas, I hope you guys get some soon!

Lindsay said...

Does it irritate you that I've seen no shortage in Dallas, and the price has only gone up about $0.10/gallon? That seems crazy to me, but I'll take it!

Jen said...

that is terrible, taking advantage of people like that. Shame on them

Michelle said...

Wow. I've heard about gas shortages in Atlanta and also some in Alabama. Chicago we have no supply issues... just price issues. We never went below $4.09 around here, even though the national average was at $3.69 a couple weeks ago. I will say that I love trying to up my gas mileage!

Fingers crossed that you get gas in soon!