Tex Pitfield, the President and CEO of Saraguay Petroleum in Atlanta, says in today’s AJC that dry pumps would have been avoidable if Governor Perdue would have responded quicker.
As we go to work today, the number of gas stations out of gas will have escalated and the situation won’t abate much over the coming weeks. This shortage, for the most part, was avoidable.
I advised Gov. Sonny Perdue of the impending crisis on Sept. 11, well before Hurricane Ike made landfall. I suggested that the state implement rationing of some form or, perhaps, limiting purchases at the pump. While he acknowledged my concerns, my suggestions fell on deaf ears.
Although Perdue’s office announced a waiver Friday night, allowing other gasoline into the Atlanta area, the intricacies woven into the waiver made it basically impossible for carriers or stores to benefit. The state has now gotten approval for a broader waiver, but this should have been done weeks ago. During Katrina and Rita, this waiver was granted unconditionally and immediately, when shortages were not as apparent as they are today.
You can read the rest for yourself at the AJC, but he continues to talk about the combination of switching from summer blend to winter blend, the special “Atlanta blend” gas that has to be used, the constantly swinging price of oil on the international market, the panic of people fearing the end of times (okay, or just an empty tank), delay in government action… need I continue…?
He attempts to end on a high note… but ultimately brings us back to the fact that most Americans, despite how conscious some of us try to be regarding our carbon footprint, etc… are pretty guilty of being wasteful.
Perhaps it is time for us to appraise our situation and lobby government to mandate alternative fuels, such as hydrogen fuel cells and electric vehicles. At a minimum, we would see a significant cost reduction and more stable supply chain if we consolidated the varieties of gasoline in the United States —- 200 or more at last count —- into one, low-sulphur variety, such as what we burn in Atlanta.
When will we realize that we desperately need to change our way of life? Sooner rather than later, I hope, although I am as guilty as the next person. I commute back and forth in my ridiculous SUV with its 11.5 miles per gallon.