Gas Panic Open Thread

I got a call last night from my father-in-law to informed us that a gas station in Blairsville was charging $4.69 per gallon. I’m hearing via Twitter of similar things happening in other areas throughout the South. All of this is fueled (no pun intended) by fear of what Hurricane Ike might do to the Gulf’s oil production and refining facilities.

Three gas stations I pass on the way to work (in Lawrenceville) were at $3.63, $3.65, and $3.69, which seems to be up about $.10 – $.12/gallon – not really that much cause for concern.

This website out of Chattannooga is following this as well and blames yesterday’s mini-panic on a couple of radio stations.

What are you folks seeing?

32 comments

  1. Chris says:

    I just bought up all the corn at the Kroger here on Sugarloaf to convert it into ethanol over the weekend.

    I may also initiate some midnight raids on local McDonalds to get diesel for the Jetta.

  2. Oh dear Lord. Just what I need, again. Prices havent changed overnight in Americus, if that is a sign – but if they go up elsewhere, I’d imagine they’d follow suit pretty quickly. Or maybe they will just put more water in their gas, that always works.

  3. jsm says:

    I got a phone call just before leaving work yesterday from a friend telling me he heard that gas would be $5/gallon by 7:00 this morning. I immediately checked out local news websites and saw nothing more than reports of wholesale gas at $4 to $5 per gallon on the Gulf Coast.

    This kind of stupid panic explains why Barack Obama is the democratic nominee. The masses are controlled by emotion rather than common sense and principle.

  4. odinseye2k says:

    I’m trying to think back to the post-Katrina jump in prices. I remember it only going on for about a week or so to head back to normal (and only a couple of days for the most ridiculous prices like $5.00 downtown ATL).

    I pretty much intend to keep the car parked an extra couple of days and shrug as usual.

  5. MediaGuyAtl says:

    Talked to my sister in Bryson City, NC. TV & Radio stations up there created a panic when one supplier, Pilot, was having trouble finding gas for their stations. They have come to Atlanta to buy supply from here. Last night gas in NC was $3.79, up .20 from last week. I topped off my tank at a BP on P’tree Industrial last night at $3.55 it’s been at that price for two weeks.
    Supplies are running short in some areas since the Colonial pipeline out of Louisiana has been down until two days ago, due to power outages in Louisiana from damage done by Gustav.
    The surge is going to be rough around Galveston Bay and that will cause the largest refinery in the US to be shut down for a couple of weeks, without a doubt. The price will spike as supplies are short.
    There is a bright side, supplies in LA are large since they have been refining and just haven’t been able to get those supplies up the pipelines. So you will see a spike for a short while but not long since our consumption is way down the past few months and the price of oil is at $101.
    Media speculation is driving the panic as usual. I just wish they wouldn’t use the example of just one supplier and talk to all to see how they are countering the situation.

  6. Icarus says:

    Gas is up about $.12 on Nymex this morning, was up about the same yesterday. So that’s roughly a quarter in two days, but still only up to where it was two weeks ago.

    Expect a week or so of media induced panic, but the price of oil was dropping all week with this storm already in the gulf, so barring a major hit to the oil infrastructure, both oil and gas should be dropping again by late next week.

  7. Icarus says:

    Expanding on the Open Thread part of this discussion:

    We have 1500 acres at the Port Of Savannah that we’re holding for a major industrial company.

    We’re about to be smacked in the face with reality for the second time in 3 years that the Eastern US is totally dependent on a very small geographic area to refine and transport it’s oil.

    One of the reasons gas prices, and especially diesel prices, are so high is that we haven’t built a refinery in this country in 30 years.

    The major pipelines that serve the eastern U.S. cut through central georgia, so it wouldn’t take much to extend a trunk line to Savannah.

    Middle Eastern Oil would save a few days transit if it were offloaded at Savannah instead of New Orleans or Houston.

    Both of Georgia’s U.S. Senators are sitting at the negotiating table working on the energy independence bill.

    So, connecting the dots, anyone want to start a grass roots effort to try to bring a major refinery and oil distribution center to the Port of Savannah?

  8. Doug Deal says:

    Icarus,

    I have heard that there might be a rare form of reticulated pigmy scallop there that gets migraines if it smells evens the faintest scent of oil, so the EPA will probably disallow such a use for the land.

  9. drjay says:

    i don’t think an oil refinery would be an ideal use for that site at all–if you mean the mega site–it would not be at all easy to build a pipeline from the ports to it and there are people upset about the lng plant on the river–i can’t imagine they’d stomach a refinery at 95 and 16

  10. jsm says:

    We had better start building refineries somewhere. Exxon’s building one every 3 years somewhere else in the world.

  11. Doug Deal says:

    The gas stations should raise the price to $15 a gallon and stop panicked idiots from causing a short term shortage.

    The runs on gas will cause a shortage, and that is the very thing that “gouging” stops. If it were many times the usual price, people would not fill their tank “just in case”, and would conserve while there is a potential for disruptions.

  12. Brian from Ellijay says:

    Gas was 3.55 yesterday at lunch, it was 4.00 by 6pm last night, it is now 4.40 in Cherokee and Cobb.

  13. ramblinwreck says:

    On Thursday I filled up in Rising Fawn, Ga, Dade County, at $3.53. Friday on the way to Savannah I paid $4.69 for 87 octane. This was of course before the storm even hit.

  14. odinseye2k says:

    “One of the reasons gas prices, and especially diesel prices, are so high is that we haven’t built a refinery in this country in 30 years.”

    Right by the letter of the statement but patently wrong in the implications.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/275/

    And adding refineries can’t magically add to the amount of oil feeding into them. There just ain’t that much out there to pass along.

    And micah, a real free market would have substitution goods available. Oil does not because Ronald Reagan knee-capped our development efforts 30 years ago. We’ll be fixing his mistake, God willing, next January.

  15. Icarus says:

    Oil is trading down $2 today on Nymex at $99, and gas is down about $.14 at $2.62/gal. That pretty much says there isn’t much long term damage to the supply chain, and that the current shortages are from hoarding and not from a true lack of supply.

  16. And micah, a real free market would have substitution goods available. Oil does not because Ronald Reagan knee-capped our development efforts 30 years ago. We’ll be fixing his mistake, God willing, next January.

    A) America hasn’t had a “real free market” since, oh, around 1913;

    B) We won’t be “fixing his mistake” regardless of who is sworn in next January, since the “fix” IS a free market, and neither major party candidate believes in such a creature.

  17. jsm says:

    “Right by the letter of the statement but patently wrong in the implications.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/275/

    Hmmm… factcheck.org disagrees:

    “Though oil refinery productivity in the United States has been improving, the number of operating refineries has been dropping steadily. In 1982, the earliest year for which the Energy Information Administration has data, there were 301 operable refineries in the U.S., and they produced about 17.9 million barrels of oil per day. Today there are only 149 refineries, but they’re producing 17.4 million barrels – less than in 1982, but more than any year since then. The increase in efficiency is impressive, but it’s not enough to meet demand: U.S. oil consumption is 20.7 million barrels per day. ”
    http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/does_the_us_lack_sufficient_oil_refining.html

    “And adding refineries can’t magically add to the amount of oil feeding into them. There just ain’t that much out there to pass along.”

    Then why is Exxon still building refineries around the world?

  18. drjay says:

    it was interesting coming home this weekend–there appeared to be cops stationed along the highway near many gas stations–a few were ou of gas and when we decided to go ahead and top off in statesboro there were people on either side of us filling there 5 gallon tanks–kinda reminded me of the folks “getting ready for doomsday” right around near years eve 2000

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