Atlanta is running out of gas

I blame Sonny Perdue:

Gas prices in metro Atlanta ticked down Friday, but fuel supplies were still tight enough for some stations to run dry.

The average price of regular gas was at $4.04 a gallon, while some stations dipped as low as $3.59, according to AtlantaGasPrices.com.
[…]
Atlanta gets virtually all its gasoline from the Gulf, so while pipelines were open, supplies were still below normal.

Stocks of gas were already low because of shutdowns forced by Hurricane Gustav. Moreover, refineries were in the midst of a yearly transition to “winter gas” from gas formulated for summer driving.

The article notes this as well, but a state representative from the northside tells me, “due to Atlanta’s non-attainment on pollution levels, Congress mandated oxygenates to be added to all gasoline sold in the ATL metro area. Oxygenates (such as ethanol) help fuel burn cleaner. the federal mandated fuel formulas for our area is known as the ‘Atlanta blend.'” The legislator adds, “During times of shortage like what happened with Hurricane Katrina, the Gov can issue executive orders to allow fuel used in other parts of the state to be sold in metro Atlanta.”

Basically, what this legislator is saying that there isn’t a shortage of gas in surrounding areas. It turns out that Nashville is running out of gas as well.

No gas stations around me have gas. I nearly didn’t make it to work on Friday. I made it from my home to my office (about 20 miles) on fumes. I had to go out today to get gas for my lawnmower. I wound up driving eight miles to find a gas station that had fuel.

My point is that we may not have this problem if the Governor would stop intervening and allow gas stations to base the price at the pump on supply. People would only buy as needed.

I don’t believe price gouging is wrong and I believe the Governor’s ignorance has caused this problem.

43 comments

  1. bowersville says:

    Hartwell has been out of diesel since Tuesday, mid grade only at a couple of places and high test only at the others.

    The rumor mill around Hart County is: The stations are playing ‘possum, they really have all grades but they have gotten scared to sell it because the fines for gouging are between $2k and $20k per complaint.

  2. Doug Deal says:

    The Governor ignorant of economic principles.

    In other news:
    Water is wet
    Fire is hot

    If I was a station, I would advertise $1.50 a gallon and turn my pumps off.

  3. atlantaman says:

    Anytime you try to cap prices, even if you refer to it as price gouging, it’s still a price cap and you’re upsetting the fundamentals of the market. See pictures of grocery stores, with little inventory, in the former Soviet Union for examples of when government tries to control prices.

    In basic “supply and demand”, if you don’t allow the price to adjust because of scarcity of supply, but demand remains constant, then you simply run out of supply.

    The price of wheat has more than tripled over the last 10 months, where are the calls to fine those price gouging farmers?

  4. Burdell says:

    Let’s not forget that with the mandated “10% ethanol” gas, everyone’s fuel efficiency drops, increasing demand even more.

  5. Rick Day says:

    atlantaman:

    I hope your ‘free market’ can provide you a bicycle so you can get to your ‘free market’ job.

    In this market, the retailer is FREE to screw the consumer.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Rick,

    If you are flled filled with hate toward business people so much, why do you frequent their stores? Just make everything yourself.

    You liberals love to hate people.

  7. atlantaman says:

    Rick, your non sequitur is about as ironic as it gets. The point is because government has decided to “protect” the consumer, by not allowing the retailer to charge the prices the market requires, we have a gas shortage.

    I’m having trouble finding gasoline, due to government regulation, so your “riding a bicycle” argument is essentially making a point for the free market.

  8. Donkey Kong says:

    Dave,

    Sure, and you proclaim your ignorance of free markets for the world, as access to accurate information (not fraud as Enron perpetrated) is a necessary component of a free market.

    Why don’t you do us all a favor and crawl back into your cave?

    Jason is right. Allow the market to set the prices, meaning that, yes, when supply is tight prices will rise.

  9. tocallaghan says:

    Dave,
    Enron committed Fraud. They did not take advantage of the market. In fact, no one can take advantage of the market unless the government steps in a places an opening. i.e Wall Street took advantage of the market by giving out high risk loans that were backed by the government if anything went wrong.

  10. gt7348b says:

    Exactly – I haven’t noticed gas prices at all and I still was able to visit seven stores shopping for a new TV on Saturday. Of course, I was on MARTA. I completely agree with Jason – allow the market to set the gas price. Allow it to set the price of roads too while we’re at it.

  11. atlantaman says:

    It’s amazing the steps liberals will go through to try and disprove the free market. We’re simply talking about the fact that we are out of gas, because the gas stations have not been allowed to price their product according to the supply. You don’t need to bring up Enron or any other off-base analogies, all you need to do is drive around the metro area and look at all of the closed gas stations for proof.

    It’s no different than grain. More farmers are growing corn, due to the big bucks made in ethanol, so there is naturally less grain. The price of grain has tripled in the last 15 months, and it will continue to go up until it stunts the demand enough to match supply or it becomes more profitable for farmers to grow wheat than corn – you get the picture.

  12. atlantaman says:

    Donkey-

    You make the statement as if it’s somehow you have no responsibility – typical liberal. If you are big on alternative transportation then ride your bike, buy an electric car, buy a hybrid, move to an urban area where you can ride the bus or walk, take MARTA more often, organize a carpool, etc…

    Liberals always behave as if they’re an amoeba without a brain and are incapable of doing something unless the government orders them to do it.

    It’s just like that miser Biden, going around telling folks to pay more taxes because it’s patriotic, but he only gives $300 a year to charity.

  13. Game Fan says:

    John Konop
    I like your solution. This would probably cut down on greenhouse gas emissions too. The only problem I have is would I have to walk around all day with some type of collection device? And whoever hooks me up better be sexy. I’ve never even had a prostate exam.

  14. Just the Facts Please says:

    Rick Day,

    You only see the street price, you don’t see the wholesale cost that was paid, btw which went up last Thursday between 1.00 to 1.50 per gallon.

    As for gouging…during Katrina there were more than 6,000 complaints from Georgians who told their govt that they had been “gouged”. There were just under 80 cases of actual gouging. About 1.3 percent of the those accused were actually guilty. But’s let not get in the way of the facts here.

  15. tb says:

    Lotta gas stations out of gas entirely today in Forsyth and South Cherokee county and those that have it have limits and the lines are out to the street.

    Some of the problem is the lack of refineries too. Of course we can all blame the do-nothing congress for all the troubles. And I mean it, they are a bunch of do-nothings.

  16. GreenAllTheWay says:

    You should all vote for Liberiterians in November. We believe in complete deregulation, and allwing the markets fix themselves.

  17. gt7348b says:

    I agree with “GreenAllTheWay” – lets vote for the same market for all fields. I’m only for the same playing field with no market distortions. If we’ re going to support a mode, let’s make it equitable across all modes, or let’s just not support any mode at all and dissolve the DOT. Do you really want to go that route? As I’ve said, I support market pricing, but only when it is true market pricing, not market distortation based upon government policies i.e. price gouging measures

  18. gatormathis says:

    “No gas stations around me have gas. I nearly didn’t make it to work on Friday. I made it from my home to my office (about 20 miles) on fumes. I had to go out today to get gas for my lawnmower. I wound up driving eight miles to find a gas station that had fuel. ”

    As I stated in a previous blog, on this here blog, in reply to a blog, on this here blog, on similiar subject matter:

    It was actually a quote from Confusion, Confucius’ immortal ignorant redneck cousin, matter of fact, he still lives today.

    “The car that has no gas,

    Hauls “nobodys” ass.”

    Hell, even ole Confusion know that.

  19. Rick Day says:

    Dear Doug,

    As a business owner (actually i own two, a convention center and a video editing production company, which includes Hyatt, and FCTF as a client) I can say with all confidence that you are wrong. I do not hate myself.

    And just because I think you and yours are tanking our America, does not make me a ‘liberal’. It makes me a Concerned Citizen.

    You are not a ‘conservative’. You, sir, are a toady.

    Be well.

  20. Doug Deal says:

    Rick,

    You should read some of the things you write. You may not be trying to, but you come off as a pretty angry person and an overall buzz-kill to be around.

    If you are instead a cheerful decent guy who I have misjudged, please accept my most sincere apology.

    My issue is not really with “liberal” per se, it is with those that see only good in their side and only evil in their oponents. Those people are zealots, and is a term I have been trying to use a lot more, since I take issue with both liberal and conservative zealots.

  21. atlantaman says:

    Here is what I don’t understand. The “experts” are now blaming the shortage on consumers irrationally buying gas when it’s not needed. I get the idea that if a bunch of people run out and fill their tanks on Wednesday, you could have a shortage for the next few days, but at some point shouldn’t it wash out? Unless people are actually driving more miles, and using more gas, what difference does it make when you fill your tank up?

    Shouldn’t filling your entire tank up once a week or topping it off every time it hits 3/4 of a tank four times a week ultimately have the same effect on our supply?

  22. Icarus says:

    “but at some point shouldn’t it wash out?”

    Yes, but it’s a logistics problem, not a supply problem.

    the average motorist carries about 1/3 of a tank of gas at a time. After the panic started, let’s assume that the average motorist is now carrying 3/4 of a tank. That’s an awful lot of gas that moved from the supply chain and into end user’s hands.

    The tanks at the two main atlanta terminals have sufficient gas supplies. However, trucks are only allowed to spend a certain number of hours on the road/day, and are now spending time unloading at 3-5 stations per truck load, instead of 1-2, which is creating more inefficiencies in the delivery.

    Give it another week, 10 days tops, and the circle of life will be normal again, unless that tropical depression off of Haiti decides to hit the East Texas coast.

  23. IndyInjun says:

    Donk wrote:

    ‘Allow the market to set the prices, meaning that, yes, when supply is tight prices will rise.’

    And in the case of worthless CDO’s, yes when the supply is enormous and demand is nonexistent, prices fall.

    In the case cited, they fell to 10 cents on the dollar, now Wall Street is begging for a bail-out.

    So do you stand by your statement or should the free market be allowed to reign when in hurts the citizenry but be put in shackles and chains when hurts Wall Street?

  24. atlantaman says:

    Icarus-

    I think we are saying close to the same thing. I felt that a week after the panic, it should have reconciled by now…unless of course there is a problem with supply. At some point, after it washes out, the supply trucks should be sitting around with nothing to do for a few days – until the average motorist goes from carrying 3/4 of a tank back to 1/3 of a tank.

    As I think about it, the panic should actually create more supply in the long run, because I’m guessing people have cut back on their driving, temporarily reducing the amount of miles driven and the overall amount of gallons needed.

  25. Icarus says:

    Yes, pretty much the same thing. It’s more about the timing right now, and the hope that the actual supply problem (the pipelines aren’t running at full capacity to refill the tanks at the terminals) doesn’t get mixed in with the logistics problem.

    I’m still thinking that by the end of this weekend, enough people will be at 3/4 of a tank, with enough supply to cut out these stupid gas lines (I’ve driven from one end of the metro areaa to the other three times this week, and at least 3/4 of the stations have some gas), that things should get back to “normal”, whatever that is.

  26. Just the Facts Please says:

    Icarus,

    You’ve nailed the problem we’ve been fighting since September 12th, the transfer of product from our tanks to those of the motorists. Anything over an average of 1/2 tank means we lose ground.

    Jim Tudor

  27. Bill Simon says:

    Just The Facts/Hi Jim!

    Yesterday, at the convenience store at the corner of Johnsons Ferry Road and 120 in Cobb County, traffic at 7:00 PM got backed-up going east on 120 because cars were stacked in line waiting to “fill-up”. (I hurriedly took an alternate route to Roswell)

    When I came back by at 11:00 PM last night, there was a wrap around the corner and switchback lines within the parking lot of that station…and it looked like one pump was operating.

    A tanker truck wouldn’t even be able to get INTO the lot if it had arrived.

    Do those tanker drivers carry security with them? They should if they do’t already…

  28. Doug Deal says:

    Master was the very short smart guy who rode on the shoulders of the big strong dumb guy (Blaster). He is the one that embargoed the methane from the pig farm in Beyond Thunderdome. Then, Mad Maxx tricked them into a fight, and ended up beating blaster, but then decided not to kill him and had to “face the wheel” because he “broke a deal”.

    It’s all in the movie Bill, pay more attention next time.

  29. Bill Simon says:

    Jim Tudor,

    I just realized something you wrote that begs a question from me: “You only see the street price, you don’t see the wholesale cost that was paid, btw which went up last Thursday between 1.00 to 1.50 per gallon.

    For the past several years, I’ve read responses by gas station owners and such that they only make “pennies per gallon”.

    At a wholesale price to the retailer of $1 a gallon OR $1.50 a gallon, that appears to translate to something in the 100% margin area, and not “pennies per gallon”…unless we are going to start referring to everything in terms of pennies (i.e., 150 pennies = $1.50 per gallon).

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