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Gas Shortage Hits the Southeast

Gas Shortage

Wathiq Khuzaie, Getty Images (left) / strent9811, CNN iReport (right)

On the left, Iraqis wait in a gas line amid a sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq. On the right, cars cue up in front of a Texaco station in Forsyth County, Ga. over the weekend.

A gas shortage has reportedly hit all over the Southeast, stretching from Florida to Tennessee.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more:

Gas remained hard to find around much of metro Atlanta on Monday morning, as lingering supply complications in the wake of two hurricanes had many motorists driving miles out of their way in a search for fuel.

State and industry officials say the problem stems from supply interruptions from the Gulf, where refineries are still rebuilding capacity after the double whammy of hurricanes Gustav and Ike, and the required use of cleaner-burning fuel in metro Atlanta. That means gas can't be easily diverted from other areas where supplies are ample.

There were mixed signals about how soon the shortages will abate. Industry officials say refineries are rapidly restoring supply, and state officials say they're taking steps to boost the flow. Some station owners, however, say they've been warned not to expect normal supplies for days to come.

Adding to the frustration, metro Atlantans who find gas are paying well over the national average for it. The average price in the area Monday morning was $4.01 a gallon, about 30 cents higher than the U.S. average, according to

If you have been affected by this, we want to hear from you.



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There are several gas stations that have been out of gas since "IKE" and others that recently no longer have gas in Athens. With the ALABAMA game this Saturday in Athens it could get really bad trying to find a station with any type of gas.

Sent by Susan Williams | 1:07 PM | 9-22-2008


I thought it was kind of funny when I saw a guy on the 11 o'clock news saying that he had been waiting for over 2 hours to fill up his car. That was until my wife told me that she needed gas in her car to get to work the next day. I LITERALLY DROVE PAST 28 DIFFERENT GAS STATIONS before finding one that still had gas for sale. UNBELIEVABLE!!! I think that tomorrow there is going to be a staggering number of stranded motorists around the Atlanta area who couldn't find fuel. GOOD LUCK ATLANTA!

Sent by Dennis | 5:29 AM | 9-23-2008

I road around the west side of athens and was unable to find a station with gas. The one station that had premium was charging 4.49 a gallon. This price gouging has to is only making things worse.

Sent by concerned | 2:34 PM | 9-23-2008

Has the u.s. only had hurricanes in the last 2 years, so that prices could be controlled at our gas pumps?

Sent by Vickie Hall | 6:58 PM | 9-23-2008

there is definitely a gas shortage in north carolina. i have family in asheville and they have reported having to wait an hour to get $20 worth of gas. Also, where I live in Charlotte gas is VERY hard to come by.

Sent by ashley | 7:22 PM | 9-23-2008

Well, if it weren't for the financial sector debacle, this would be a major news story. Here in Asheville, NC we've been seeing shortages starting well over a week ago - and gone from bad to worse since then. A few stations apparently have recieved supplies today, leading to the 1/2 mile lines both directions at those few stations. But the shortage is such that many folks are not able to get minimum needs met for going to work and such. I have to admit it's frustrating to get so little "useable" information from the media. Of course, the little info I've heard in the media was reassurance from "industry experts" that things would be settling out by mid week, which appears to have been quite inaccurate. So, maybe it doesn't matter.

Sent by geoffrey | 9:49 PM | 9-23-2008

Those prices are unbelievable. In New Jersey gas has been 3.23 - 3.49 per gallon for the past 2 weeks we've been here. What gougers!!!!! Isn't that illegal?

Sent by mic | 10:52 PM | 9-23-2008

Here in Kansas City we have plenty of gas, no lines & at $3.36 per gallon. Looks like the folks in the Southeast are getting jerked around since we also get our gas from the Houston refineries.

Sent by Laws | 9:52 AM | 9-24-2008

Gas woes continue around Asheville, NC with most stations having been out of gas for several days. The few stations that have a little gas are charging $4.29/gallon for regular and lines spilling out into the streets are snarling traffic. I witnessed one line about 1/2 mile long last night. People are staying home from work and school because they simply don't have gas. We are still unclear on why other areas of the country have fuel and we do not. Is this not seen as a huge problem?

Sent by Angela | 2:20 PM | 9-24-2008

We have intermittent shortages in Forsyth County, NC (Winston-Salem area) as well. This happens any time there are hurricanes in the Gulf that shut down refinery operations.

Sent by Lynn | 2:52 PM | 9-24-2008

As a Charlotte resident, I am also affected by the shortage. It does seem very strange that other areas of the country have all the gas they need at a very reasonable price. Maybe the oil companies are trying a "test market" in the Southeast to see how far they can push the American public before there is an actual investigation into the questionable pricing tactics.

Sent by Becky | 9:42 PM | 9-24-2008

I live in Macon County, North Carolina, and attend classes at Western Carolina University (where I live on campus). I don't drive, but the gas shortage has affected everyone around here in some way. My home town of Franklin, NC has gas shortages, as do the towns of Sylva, Canton, and even Asheville. I was listening to the local NPR affiliate (WCQS) today, and heard that A-B Tech college has called off classes for the remainder of the week due to this whole situation.

Sent by Mike | 11:20 PM | 9-24-2008

i live in canton nc and have to drive to asheville to attend classes at ab tech everyday. this has been gong on for about a week, with the past few days getting progressively worse. i'm sitting at home today since classes are cancelled, and i paid $70 for a full tank of gas after waiting for 20 minutes and being routed by police through a local gas station with .5 mile lines. it seems like people haven't been taking this as seriously as the situation now demands.

Sent by thomas | 10:01 AM | 9-25-2008

The situation in Asheville continues to worsen, reminiscent of some B-grade disaster movies. Schools have cancelled classes, 2-3 hour waits in gas lines are the norm, if you are able to find a station that actually has gas available, and people seem to be feeling a little on edge with tempers and arguments flaring regularly. Police are often out trying to direct traffic and keep the calm at stations that get the occassional shipment.

Sent by Carole | 4:56 PM | 9-25-2008

All the BP's and Citgo's I've driven past have been out of gas for days. I wonder why Spinx has a plentiful supply with lines of cars wrapped around the block? There is something funny going on and I think Ike is not the only player in this shortage.

Greenville, SC

Sent by Crystal - Greenville, SC | 7:42 PM | 9-25-2008

when everybody wants Beanie Babies,
what's the price? now that nobody
wants them, what's the price?
of course, nobody NEEDS BB's, but
that doesn't change the equation.

Sent by john of sparta | 10:29 PM | 9-25-2008

We knew this gas situation ordeal had supposedly gotten worse in the past week, but having not really needed that much in the last few days, we hadn't gotten the real gist of the whole shortage dillemma. That is, not until tonight, when we were down to 1/4 tank, did we realize the extent of this situation. After dropping our 16 yr.old son off to meet up with a friend at a local HS football game, we drove down a long stretch of a major road in our city, which usually has more than it's share of gas stations, only to find station after station with lights off and no gas anywhere to be found. After about 10 miles, we finally located one, and you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to notice the ones with gas,seeing as no one within a 100 mile radius of this place, apparently has any, it was quickly apparent as to the ones who did. All you had to do was look for the ones that looked like a used car lot, and presto, GAS! Apparently this one had gotten a 6,000 gal. shipment the night before, and judging by the huge conglomerate of cars lined up,it seemed that there couldn't possibly be anything left of that 6,000 gallons, except maybe fumes.My assessment hadn't been too far off, as confirmed to me by the attendant, who stated that the tanks were now down below 4,000 gal., and were, at their estimate, dropping roughly 2,000 gal per hour. Now with every pump about 6 to 8 cars deep and spilling out on to the main road, it wasn't long in our wait until we heard the pumps could run out at any time. The attendant was stating something about how the tanks couldn't drop below 500 gal or they would risk some kind of pressure damage to the pumps. After waiting about 40 min, we did at least finally got to a pump where one of us pumped and the other went in to pay the weary attendant, who said I better go out and make sure that I knew the correct pump #, because they had just handled a major mixup, due to one customer taking his $50 in but stating the wrong number of their pump. This, of course caused his $50 cash to be credited to a different pump, which in turn, allowed that person access to the $50. This was also complicated by the fact that one of the parties could not speak very good English and was frustrated that the poor attendant could not understand them very well and the other party was demanding that their $50 be returned to them immediately, either by the attendant or by the other party, and it didn't matter which one as long as it was returned to them immediately. All the while, amidst all the mahem of wrangling through the broken English, while still trying to referee between the rebel refueler and the ranting refundee,the poor attendant was trying to take care of the other people who were paying, and trying to be careful to put each person's money on the right pump. We did finally succeed at pumping ours and didn't stick around to see how the refueling rivalry was remedied.I think the attendant was more than happy when this days'supply was sold. I think it is fair to say we all would feel the same had we been in their shoes, but then again, who knows? Maybe, when all is said and done, some shoes are often harder to fill than even southeastern gas pumps.

Sent by Cindy | 3:21 AM | 9-27-2008

I believe this gas shortage is a crock of crap. We have enough fuel reserves in Alaska to last the USA 200yrs. Why are the refineries tapping into that? You know why, because the govenment is holding onto it for "emergencies", well I think this could be considered to say the least, minor! Refill our refineing staions and get it over with. If the government wasn't too worried about helping the countries that our soldiers were sent to destroy then maybe, just maybe, we(the USA)wouldn't be in the mess it's in now.

Sent by amy | 3:41 PM | 9-27-2008

Heads up for travelers heading into hall, habersham, banks, white, rabun counties... NO GAS...All stations out as of 2300hrs on 27SEP08. Travel not recommended at this time.


Sent by zako pane | 11:09 PM | 9-27-2008