Monday, September 15, 2008

A Gasoline Shortage in Charlotte NC

Stories and pictures about the gas shortage in Charlotte NC. Updates will appear at the top.

10.9.08 6:00 pm
In the Charlotte area, most fueling stations have gasoline now. I'd say 3 out 4. THe proce for regular is about $3.85. Premium grade gas is still harder to come by. At some point I might revisit this thread and try to summarize this experience, but for now I'm going to close this thread.


9.29.08 9:26 pm
Now *this* is a gas line. Glad I left GA.


9.26.08 8:26 pm Video.


9.26.08 8:22 am People are calling me to tell me about sitting in gas lines or getting trapped in traffic because of cars waiting to turn into gas stations. People, I need pictures. Remember that little cell phone you keep strapped to your belt like a colt revolver from the wild west? It's probably got a camera in it. Draw and fire off some photos. Send them to:


9.26.08 8:18 am
They're sleeping in their cars!
...a number of people in the Charlotte region slept in their cars in line over night waiting for gas to arrive, not even knowing when or if gas would arrive at their station. Read more.
Did you catch that? These people are sleeping at gas stations even without the promise of gas in reward for a bad night's sleep under a steering wheel! That is surely a sign of addiction.


9.25.08 12:58 pm Tempers Flare!
NewsChannel 36 reporters saw a fight break out at one station after someone cut in line.
It's getting testy here. One other note, my web traffic has increased substantially, mostly from google searches of "gas stations in Charlotte that still have gas" or something similar.


9.24.08 10:19 pm You should all be disappointed. This is the only picture I have of gas lines in my area.

That's because it's game over almost instantly. Last night most stations, I'd say nine out of ten, had gasoline. Tonight almost no stations have gas. It happened fast, so fast that I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the gas lines. This is the only one I could find. Oddly this station wasn't swamped like reports I've heard from others in my area- stories of traffic backed up and hour-long lines. Now it's just eerily quiet out on the roads. I'll take my cameras with me to work tomorrow and see if any other fueling stations have fuel.

One other item to report. Diesel is still widely available. A shortage of diesel would mean many more problems because diesel fuels delivery trucks and school buses. I think what we're experiencing here in the Southeast will shake things up a bit but not as much as if the grocery stores suddenly ran out of milk or the schools had to stop shipping kids all over the county.

My wife has 16 gallons in the Volvo wagon. I have 5 gallons in the Camry. We'll see how long it lasts. ;-)


9.24.08 6:04 pm - Alright now we're cooking with, um, gas.


9.24.08 4:23 pm - Perhaps gasoline shortages in Charlotte were delayed and are just now arriving. I recently talked on the phone to a coworker who stopped at 7 fueling stations before she found one with gas. Then she waited in line for an hour to get some. Here's newz coverage from last night.
Drivers backed up at gas stations including in east Charlotte and Myers Park. Police threatened to ticket people blocking traffic.Some customers waited more than 30 minutes for gas. One driver, Sherrie Harvin, said, "I was talking with a lady in Wal-Mart. She said that she was an hour late because she was trying to get gas here and she said that fights were breaking out. I mean, look, this is crazy."No one seemed able to explain the lines. Read more.
And this isn't going to help.
Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP said a fire late yesterday shut its Pasadena oil terminal in Texas, which connects refineries from along the Gulf Coast to pipelines serving the eastern and Midwest U.S. Read More.


9.24.08 2:48 pm - From a friend in Asheville, an example of social organization happening around the current fuel shortage.

If you know of stations that have gasoline today (or ones listed on our website that are out), please call 232-5964 or e-mail the name and location of the station and when you last noted that the shop was selling gasoline to [email addresses deleted]

The Citizen-Times will periodically update its coverage of the gasoline shortage with a reader-generated list of stations that still have inventory.

Read the whole story here. (Thanks Peter)


9.23.08 - 9:33 am It's been a week and the availability of gasoline has remained much the same here in the Charlotte NC region- most fueling stations have it and the price is down just a bit to just over $4/gallon.

It's worth pointing out that this is still an historically high price. Here's the 5 year chart for the Charlotte area.

Ahhh, remember the good old days(5 years ago) when gas was $1.30/gallon. ;-) I haven't updated this post because locally there hasn't been much change. I'm going to leave this thread up though and expand it to include more problematic areas of the Southeast. From Atlanta,
Across metro Atlanta, drivers in one of the nation's largest commuter cities are running into the same thing: a lack of gas and no clear idea when the situation will get better. State and industry officials say they're working as fast as they can and are urging people not to panic. Here's the whole article from CNN.
However AAA says,
Atlanta and Tallahassee, Fla. are also seeing shortages, but nothing like in Nashville, where long lines and empty pumps have been a common site since Friday morning. Read more.
Officials in TN blame both a real fuel shortage and panicked drivers stopping to top off when ever they see a station open. As always it's a coupling of real supply issues and the distortion of demand practices in times of crisis.

Places like Asheville NC and Spartanburg SC seem to be short on gasoline because they are further from terminals along the Colonial Pipeline with supplies much of the Southeast with fuel coming from the Gulf Region. Places like Charlotte which are closer to pipeline terminals are having less trouble getting gasoline. This is important because it shows how ceratin aspects of fuel delivery can and will continue to affect certain cities and counties- even those in relatively close proximity- with the result of varying levels of fuel availablity.

I'll end this update with a chart from Gail the Actuary at TOD. The emphasis added is mine. Check out her post here which explains why we aren't out of the woods yet concerning fallout from Ike.


9.16.08 - 9:29 pm
Average price per gallon of gasoline in my area has settled back down to about $4.19/gallon. Most gas stations still have fuel but some, especially those not associated with a specific oil company like Exxon or Shell, are out of fuel. See images below.


9.15.08 - 10:53am
Last Friday I noticed a $0.30 increase in the price of gasoline between 8am and 1pm. Also gas lines formed at a nearby filling station. I had not received any news- radio, newspaper, or Internet - all morning so it came as a surprise to me to see such a sight. Reports from friends are that most gas stations have fuel but a few do not. The average price I've seen is $4.29 per gallon. I'll post a GasBuddy chart.

A must read. Implications of a Ten Day Refinery Outage


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm from Knoxville and the pipeline is running again and stations are beginning to open up. We had gas up to $5 a gallon. A good mental exercise seeing those pumps with bags. Pumps with bags...what a great icon!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Spartanburg is a terminal on the pipeline, but the majority of stations are still without gas. Hendersonville and Asheville have had most stations closed for several days, now. Tuesday morning I passed 22 stations and two (in SC) had gas. Today (Thursday) I saw three.

Anonymous said...

What gets me is the press started reporting the shortage even before there was truly a shortage causing the public to make a run on the gas stations resulting in the gas stations running out even faster! I contribute a lot of this unnecessary panic to our wonderful media. The created a panic when there wasn't one so they would have something to report.

Anonymous said...

As someone who works for the "press" (In Charlotte, NC) I must say that there isn't any fuel being added to the fire by the media. People want to be informed and that is what the press is doing. Yes, there is a shortage, and people want to be kept up on it. It's not fair to point the finger at the media. I realize someone has to take the fall, yet it's not the media's fault.

There is a gas shortage. The media outlet I am working for takes steps to ENSURE they are not creating panic. We are in the job of informing, not sensationalizing situations such as a gas shortage. If we didn't cover the gas shortage, you'd wonder why and would call and complain about that. Viewers are fascinating!


nulinegvgv said...

Of course MainStream Media helped fueled this panic. MSM wasn't objectively covering the impending gasoline shortage during the time lag between Gustav's landfall and the lines at fueling stations. They waited until a gas shortage arrived in our area post-Ike and then "covered" it. I can do that without a digital camera and a blog. We should expect more from people with greater resources. By the way, I have heard almost nothing from MSM about the underlying reasons for such short supplies.

But the public does deserve some of the blame. People freaked out when they thought they might not be able to drive everywhere they want or need to go. The American public has been suckered into car dependence. The US has organized everyday life and landscape around the car. Of course people freaked out. It’s true that public panic helped to further drain the supply of gasoline unnecessarily. Hopefully some of the people in this area will use this as a learning opportunity and figure out a way to give up the oil addiction.

In the end I think the equation looks something like this.

tight global petroleum supplies +
natural disruption event +
poor media coverage (hype) +
public panic =
gasoline shortage

There's never just one cause.

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I remember this incident, I was luckily out side the town for those days.

Lawrence Spring said...

Talk about gas addiction huh? Geesh. So how's the gas supply in Charlotte now? Aside from the television, Internet is another type of medium where people can get the latest news. Your blog might have the juiciest info by the time. At least, people were updated. Did you even fall in line?

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Soon this is going to happen at a worldwide scale, with the current prices and the wars, there is only going to be fuel for the armies.

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welcome to this new era, a era in we don't any other optiont that find something to use as fuel, oil is almost empty in Middle East, inclusive around the world.