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In GA, NC, Long Lines at Gas Pump Are Flashback to 1970s

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Atlanta gas lines

Atlanta gas lines

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Georgia and North Carolina commuters are being forced to telecommute, take public transit, carpool, or wait in 15-minute-plus lines due to the most significant fuel shortages since Presidents Carter and Nixon. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the American Petroleum Institute, by way of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, hurricanes Gustav and Ike bear the main responsibility.

The hurricanes, which recently hit the Gulf Coast back-to-back, forced refinery shutdown in anticipation of the storms (prior to Gustav), and power outages during the storms slowed the process of restarting the refineries. Pipelines that ship oil from Gulf Coast refineries to Southeastern petroleum facilities were alternately stopped and slowed by the issues above.

To someone who's never seen lines for gas pumps in his life, the experience was surreal. One particular line on Friday night in midtown Atlanta stretched 15-plus cars long, with some residents claiming to have driven from outlying suburbs as far as 20 miles away. The eclectic mix of Sentras, Land Rovers, Volvos, and taxicabs, waiting in frustrated resignation on Cheshire Bridge Road (known citywide for its assortment of liquor stores, tattoo parlors, nightclubs, and "adult establishments"), was nearly as effective a leveler of social class as that great New York City melting pot: the subway. The moment could only have been made more complete if Garth and Wayne had driven up in their sputtering AMC Pacer.

Could this Southeast phenomenon be a chilling harbinger of energy crises yet to come?--Colin Mathews
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Comments (6)
  1. Exactly how it is here in Atlanta. Last night I took off to find premium, hit 10 stations and not one drip of any flavor... kind of eerie as well with the lights off at the stations too. Your used to those intersections/areas etc. being lit.
    I know scooter sales are up but they use gas. Wonder where bike sales are headed?

  2. If we (government and the public) had forced the automakers to start working on alternatives during the 70's (as we should have), we would never have had to see this situation again. Unfortunately, everyone preferred to play ostrich and stick their head in the sand.

  3. CAFE standards never worked, when gas dropped to $1, everybody bought the StupidUglyVehicles they did not need, fatass SUVs and pickups.
    The only way is to slap a huge tax on gas, and keep the price at some level, $3 or $4, stable, so companies can invest without fear that next time oil plummets to $10 they will have to go broke again.

  4. Two ideas to add to Ed's comment. The government should gradually ramp up taxes on gas. Add 25 cents each year for a decade. The automakers should be able to plan for what's coming that way. Second, supply everyone with a calculated income tax credit based on driving 15k per year and getting 35 mpg. That way those of us who use less gas will see our taxes go down and those who want to continue driving their H2 can fork over some money.

  5. Taxes on gas are NOT a solution, and the high price of gas and it's compounding ripple-effect on the cost of all goods also contributed to the current economic crisis.
    The solution is obvious - WE HAVE TO BECOME ENERGY INDEPENDENT and not rely on out enemies for oil. This means drilling everywhere AND investing in all forms of alternative energy. Blindly ignoring the problem will have a greater catastrophic result than the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac disaster where the warning signs were ignored.
    Wake up America, before it is too late. It is 11.59pm and our enemies are watching.

  6. I disagree. Properly crafted tax laws can be a very effective solution. In this case I'm proposing that shifting tax burden away from income and towards consumption will force people to be less wastefull in their use of resources. Rather than throw money at the problem (in this case who exactly is "we" and how exactly do "we invest in alternative energy") government's role is to provide the structure on which the economy operates. The goal should be to provide stability and sustainability.

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