Sep
23

Gas in Asheville: More Expensive, Short Supply

By


The AC-T is reporting “A gas shortage that closed many stations Monday and left motorists in lines of up to an hour or more at others promises more of the same today.

And worse yet, there will no quick fix in the next several days, officials said.

“People are panicked,” said Marsha Messer, manager of the Roadrunner Shell station on Merrimon Avenue. Messer stood in the station’s parking lot Monday afternoon directing lines of cars.

“We’ve already had three fights today. That’s why we have the cops here, “ she said, pointing to Asheville police patrol cars parked to the side.

The shortages have spread across much of the Southeast as most the 15 Gulf Coast refineries shut down by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike have yet to come back on line, cutting the nation’s petroleum supply by 22 percent.

Some experts said Asheville’s relative remoteness from the Colonial Pipeline, the main artery for East Coast gasoline supplies, and sparse population compared with major metropolitan areas could be adding to the problem…”

Read the rest of the article.

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Oh, it gets better. Not only is gas more expensive in Asheville than the rest of the state, the price of a barrel of oil jumped $25.00 yesterday in its biggest ever 1 day gain. Get ready for a jump in prices, no matter what the news is reporting.

Categories : Energy, Local, Uncategorized

Comments

  1. Low Key says:

    Some useful links:

    The Asheville Transit System posts maps and schedules here:

    http://www.ashevillenc.gov/transit

    The state of NC set up a ride-share program:

    http://www.sharetheridenc.org/

    If you use a ride-share or bus to get to work – and you get get “stuck” because you missed ride or bus, you are qualified to use the Emergency Ride Home Program:

    http://www.fbrmpo.org/ERH_Waiver.html

    Also worth mentioning for those of you who do inter-city treks:

    http://asheville.craigslist.org/rid/

  2. I just got back from the Outer Banks and there’s plenty of gas everywhere else. The idiots driving around looking for gas and waiting in long lines to top off and hoard gas in gas cans are the biggest problem!

  3. uptown ruler says:

    i think its more complicated than the situation in the outerbanks. there are a host of other cities facing the same situation as asheville: nashville and atlanta to name a few.

  4. uptown ruler says:

    best line out of this whole bailout issue is one republican calling another republican a conservative communist. awesome…

  5. from the workdesk says:

    Nashville ran out of gas because of a panic. People were going out and filling up cars and topping off tanks and even taking cars to the station that they don’t regularly drive. The same phenomenon has been reported here in WNC.

    Kudos to Low Key for suggesting non-car solutions to this problem.

  6. Arratik says:

    Curious – is there a law requiring gas stations to maintain a reserve for law enforcement vehicles during crisis situations like this?

    I’m asking because for the last several days the Citgo down the street from my house has had their pumps bagged, but it seems like every time I pass by there’s a Buncombe County Sheriff’s vehicle filling up. Now it looks like they’re out of their reserve supply; the pumps are taped off with what looks like crime scene tape.

  7. the Eblen on Broadway has gas – only for LEO and city /county employees. Looks like our “leaders” have fixed the problem – for themselves…

  8. Low Key says:

    Arratik: No. There is no law per-se. But municipalities do have contracts with certain suppliers in case of emergencies. The Citgo on Merrimon is one of them.

  9. Arratik says:

    Gotcha. Thanks, Low Key.

  10. Clarence Young says:

    Too bad, “gouging” was not allowed. We would have the availability of gas. The government has caused this problem by clamping down on gouging.

    If some gasoline dealer priced his gasoline at $8 per gallon or more, he would likely have gas. The customers would come in and buy the least amount possible–not the most they could cart away to hoard.

    Yours in hoped for liberty!

  11. Gordon Smith says:

    Right! Then the people with expendable income could drive to work, and the poor could just suck it up and deal with it.

    Libertarianism is fun! (if you have some money)

  12. Mr. Yuck says:

    Waterboard the leafers and take their gas!

  13. Tim Peck says:

    Clarence Young is quite right.

    Gordon, everyone has expendable income — even the poor (like meeeee-eeeeee). Sometimes discretionary funds can be found in cash or debt, sometimes in physical assets, or just in time and effort. Even charitable efforts can help the poor surmount difficulties.

    The important aspect is that the natural economy should be able to provide important economic information to the community to its greatest possible benefit. And this information should be honest.

    The function of price should be allowed to operate freely and without government interference to give consumers an accurate picture of the supply of a value and the varieties of demand being placed on that value over time.

    Instead, what we have is the government forcing business owners to falsify the true picture of gas supplies by keeping prices low. Forcing prices to be too low allows for the full range of non-essential consumption that has led directly to gas outages across the region.

    Gas stations should have been able to raise prices by calculating current supplies, changes in demand, and anticipation of renewed supplies. Ideally, a station should raise prices to ensure that there is still a gallon left when the tankers arrive.

    $8.00 per gallon for a few days is far better than free gas that ain’t there.

    Yes, libertarianism is fun.

  14. Clarence Young says:

    The poor could most likely afford what they needed. Most poor folks probably don’t drive great distances. A gallon gives me 25 miles in my 96 Cherokee 4-cylinder 5-speed and 30 in my 88 Saab turbo 5-speed. This is everyday driving. I checked each one for 1000 miles local driving.

    Two gallons probably get most folks to work and back for a week.

    If the poor get a used bicycle, they can go to work for nothing. They will save big time.

  15. Asheville JJ says:

    These are very interesting takes on the current gas problem. Makes me think and thats why I love these blogs. Do I always agree? No. But I do like to see different sides to issues and different perspectives. Thanks Gordon, Clarence, Tim and others for providing a good read!

  16. Clarence Young says:

    Thanks JJ. It is difficult not to react to my statements without emotion. If you get rid of the emotion, you can begin to understand the point.

    I learned about this from John Stossel. You can probably Goggle his thoughts on it.

  17. Clarence Young says:

    Google Gaggle Aflac

  18. Anne says:

    This happened with Katrina also, altho this time there was a much more delayed response to the shortage. This is a major hardship for our region — it’s all everyone is talking about: Do you have gas?

    Where is the political leadership to look into this problem and make sure that WNC is supplied like the rest of the country? The silence is deafening. Heath? Gantt? Holly? chirp…chirp… chirp…

  19. shadmarsh says:

    Instead, what we have is the government forcing business owners to falsify the true picture of gas supplies by keeping prices low. Forcing prices to be too low allows for the full range of non-essential consumption that has led directly to gas outages across the region.

    I’d agree, except you left out the part about how the oil/auto industry has repeatedly blocked (in the form of lobbying) any move– led by us godless liberals– to move away from oil dependence…

  20. Tom Sullivan says:

    WELCOME TO BAGHDAD!

    Some stations dry in Greenville, SC. Mostly high-traffic areas. Passed five earlier. Two were out of gas.

    My brother works for Plantation Pipeline (competitor to Colonial Pipeline). He says the word is it may be two weeks before things are fully back to normal. That doesn’t mean no gas, just limited gas. It’s like a very long Slinky, he said. A pulse at one end takes time to ripple down to the other. The fuel has to enter the pipeline, arrive at terminals, fill tank farms, transfer to trucks and, finally, fill underground tanks at the stations. And it’s more profitable to truck it shorter distances from terminals.

    Pipelines aren’t the problem this time. It’s production. Shutting down a refinery ahead of a hurricane is one thing. Getting that complex distillation train running again is a lengthy process. (I’m a piping engineer.) Coastal cities fare better – fuel arrives by ship and is bunkered in greater quantities. Charleston and Columbia are fine right now, he says. Inland cities like Atlanta, Greenville, Asheville are harder hit. I hear it’s worst in Nashville.

    If it’s not better in Asheville by Th. night, I may have to bring home a can of gas for my wife.

  21. Susan says:

    Clarence Young:

    where are the free used bicycles? do they come with free maintenance?

  22. randallt says:

    Thanks Anne, I am already seeing a lot of cars on the side of the road. Quite a few people won’t make it to work tomorrow. Who is going to address this?

    I drove down the mountain to Marion from Asheville and waited along with dozens for the fuel truck to arrive at the Truck Stop at sugar Hill Rd. I only waited about an hour and was lucky in that I was third in line for one of the 20 pumps. As I was leaving around 6:30, it was getting a little crazy with the traffic and people driving across ditches and grass and stopping on the side of the road. $50 limit and a lot of gas cans.

  23. bobaloo says:

    If the poor get a used bicycle, they can go to work for nothing.

    You are aware that Buncombe County has a lot of rural areas, yes? If so, kindly explain how a Weaverville construction worker gets to a Fairview job on a bicycle.

  24. shadmarsh says:

    You are aware that Buncombe County has a lot of rural areas, yes? If so, kindly explain how a Weaverville construction worker gets to a Fairview job on a bicycle.

    In an ambulance, after he is run over by Billy Joe Gunrack/ or lost Floridiots….Or he could just strap sum rockets on that bitch!

  25. Gordon Smith says:

    Strap ’em on, man! Popcorn’s got all the gas we need!

  26. Clarence Young says:

    You all have good points. I was just pushing some buttons there and I should not have.

    However, I figured something out tonight while ripping out carpet strips and millions of tiny staples from the carpet removal job I’m doing.

    I figured out that I need to quit goading people. I need to be more touchy feely when I write.

    I remembered that most everyone here has good intentions. There’s a road that goes there or close to there. 🙂

    But mostly, I figured out at least one reason for the “disconnects” that occurred today.

    Most of the people here, being of good intentions, seem to relate everything to the poor. Now this poses a problem.

    When someone makes a statement, instead of immediately asking how this affects the poor, ask the question, “Could this possibly be true and if it is, is it good or bad for the poor?”

    I believe that what I said is absolutely true. If it is true, how does it affect the poor?

    It costs the poor more to go to work if they drive a car. It doesn’t cost them any more if they are walking, riding bikes or buses. So, not all the poor are affected.

    It helps the poor who drive in the following ways. The system we have now has given us no gas. Many people will not earn anything today because of this. If they paid higher gas prices and could buy the gas, then they would make a wage today.

    Again, the first question to ask is not how this affects the poor. The first question is to ask if this could possibly be true.

    By not asking the right questions you are stuck with what you have. By relying upon your emotions, you have actually harmed the poor. I have offered you a better way.

  27. Mr. Yuck says:

    It’s possible that some of us draw on the experiences of the people we know when we make statements about the poor. That we feel emotionally connected to people we know…Well that’s just the darnest thing about the human condition and it sets us up to lose under the most dystopian of scenarios.

  28. rip says:

    Arrest poor people that don’t carpool. We need our poor people at work!

  29. bobaloo says:

    Clarence, the market could still self-regulate by not allowing people to buy unlimited gas. Doesn’t this make as much sense?

  30. Anne says:

    So if we know that our area has some challenges in getting gasoline to us, I’d love to see one of our elected “leaders” investigate this and figure out some mechanisms that pro-actively lessen this problem next time.

    We are one hour north of Spartanburg, two hours east of Charlotte. They all get gas. There are major highways connecting us. Why do our leaders allow our region to be repeatedly thrown into a third world crisis situation with every big storm?

    First world taxes and real estate, third world fuel infrastructure, absent leadership. Hear the crickets chirping…

  31. Gratuitous says:

    My ex-wife was in a long line this morning, and a lady managed to cut in front of her. Many people started shouting at the offender, even some getting out of their cars to tap on her window and assuring her she will be denied when she gets up there. She wouldn’t budge. When she got to the pump and went in to prepay, I think she must have been told to apologize to the person behind her, which she did, and proceeded to pump. I wonder if she had a good sob story? A sick baby might work. Who knows, it could even be true. But it’s a dangerous game regardless.

  32. Jody says:

    I’m glad this has happened. Some argue for an organizational or supply change and this is a decent immediate response but I’ll explain my point of view as I did to a friend back in the spring: “People are freaking over gas prices, but the real problem will occur when it is not available at any price or is rationed.”

    While ‘Peak Oil’ as a concept is debatable, it is fairly obvious that ‘peak production’ or ‘peak distribution’ is obviously real.

  33. Clarence Young says:

    Bobaloo says:

    Clarence, the market could still self-regulate by not allowing people to buy unlimited gas. Doesn’t this make as much sense?

    Respectfully, no.

    “Not allowing” is force. It denies the entire premise-concept of unfettered (I call unfettered “completely free.”) self-regulation.

    The failure with your premise is that some will bribe the dealers for extra allotments. All the dealer has to do is “adapt” to the situation to favor some over others.

    We have been given a gift and some seem determined to manipulate it so that it won’t work.

    Supply and demand evens out very quickly in tight situations and more slowly when there is not a crunch.

    A partially blown up balloon will always expand wherever it can.
    A balloon blown up tight will simply explode if squeezed too hard.

    Our economy has been manipulated and adjusted and fine-tuned into a balloon ready to burst.

    We are being handed some fantastic lessons of all kinds right now. We will either see them or blow ourselves up.

  34. bobaloo says:

    How do you propose to regulate gas purchases? If you went even/odd days or limited purchases to X gallons at a time, what is to stop someone from stopping at more than one place?

    The Cornerstore in Weaverville had a $20 limit, prepay only. It’s not that frickin hard.
    And there was still a long line, so I suspect that would dissuade people from going to multiple places.

    Clarence: How is a gas station limiting the amount people can buy at one time any different in “force” than an $8 a gallon price? I’m not talking a government mandated ration, I’m talking self-regulation.

  35. Tim Peck says:

    bobaloo says:

    Clarence, the market could still self-regulate by not allowing people to buy unlimited gas. Doesn’t this make as much sense?

    Rationing can make sense in certain instances, such as concert ticket sales. But it is a poor substitute for the effectiveness of pricing in a free commodities market.

    The key problem with rationing is that it is arbitrary: Who will use what formula to determine which consumers deserve how much gas for which uses and for how long? No one has this information. These are all functions of a free market that are circumvented by an arbitrary, coercive and ultimately unfair contrivance.

    Rationing takes away the decision-making power of individuals. With freely fluctuating prices, individuals remain free to make economic decisions that best suit their conditions and abilities. Individuals are the better decision-makers in this case, not central planners.

  36. Tim Peck says:

    bobaloo says:

    Clarence, the market could still self-regulate by not allowing people to buy unlimited gas. Doesn’t this make as much sense?

    Rationing can make sense in certain instances, such as concert ticket sales. But it is a poor substitute for the effectiveness of pricing in a free commodities market.

    The key problem with rationing is that it is arbitrary: Who will use what formula to determine which consumers deserve how much gas for which uses and for how long? No one has this information. These are all functions of a free market that are circumvented by an arbitrary, coercive and ultimately unfair contrivance.

    Rationing takes away the decision-making power of individuals. With freely fluctuating prices, individuals remain free to make economic decisions that best suit their conditions and abilities. Individuals are the better decision-makers in this case, not central planners.

  37. Clarence Young says:

    bobaloo:

    Clarence: How is a gas station limiting the amount people can buy at one time any different in “force” than an $8 a gallon price? I’m not talking a government mandated ration, I’m talking self-regulation.

    Okay. If the government or no other force mandates the limiting of gas, then there is no force.

    Let me try this another way.

    Station receives gas and sells it all within five hours at $4.50.

    Station receives more gas next day and sells it all within four hours at $5.

    Station receives more gas next day and sells it all within three hours at $5.50.

    Station receives more gas next day and does not run out of gas at $6.

    Station drops price to $5.75 and has a hundred gallons of gas when next delivery is made. Gas has found its value.

    No single person or government bureau could figure this out in advance. There are too many variables.

    Let’s do some present time consciousness thinking here.

    When you wrap yourself around a certain outcome, you are bound to be disappointed for you will rarely if ever achieve it.

    Your life will become bliss if you can learn acceptance and understanding of natural flow.

  38. Jody says:

    Wait, I like the rationing. I need 5 gallons of gas to power the motorcycle all week, I sell my remaining ration to you. You get more gas and I get a little profit.

    I see a great decision there in my favor, Tim; you get a forced government solution with a little hat tip to free enterprise.

  39. Clarence Young says:

    Holy Moley, TP, I am just a country boy!

  40. Diamond says:

    I see all of these tales of woe telling the same story. I have lived in Asheville for my entire life. I remember were we had odd and even days to buy a limited amount of fuel in the 70s, the system sucked. People with more then one car just changed the license plates and bouth gas whenever they wanted. Let’s face it, it’s not the Democrats or the Republicans fault. Put the blame where it belongs, on the oil refineries and the distributors. When winter comes the retail stores have clothing, and other winter items on the shelf, when summer rolls around they have swimwear and sunscreen in good supply. The hurricanes were tracked for days before landfall. So why didn’t the refineries ramp up production before the storm? Also why are so many located in vunerable locations? Maybe this will spur some interest. Most likely when fuel is plentyful again, people will go right back to wasting it. Folks just need to buy the amount of fuel they need at this time.

  41. bobaloo says:

    You’re telling me people are waiting in line for an hour for two gallons of gas? I find that hard to believe.