Continuing coverage of… ATL GAS CRISIS 2008!

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.


  1. AtlConservative says:

    I like and respect Sonny, but Tex is absolutely correct! Come on!!! Like we don’t know this was going to happen? Wasn’t Sonny aware of our Atlanta “blend” gas BS? Why didn’t he ask for the temp relief immediately?

  2. tb says:

    Well Water in Short Supply and now Gas in Short Supply, what’s next. I will say this situation is just another demonstration on how Georgia Government is just as innefficient as the fed.

  3. Doug Deal says:

    No mentioned of not doing anything and letting market prices keeping people from panic buying. Instead, they do something (threaten gas stations) that causes the shortage then rationalize that they needed to do more (ration).

    Purdue and his people are idiots. Where do I burn my symbolic Republican registration card in an environmentally safe fashion?

  4. ButlerTReynolds says:

    Doug is absolutely right. I am just astonished at how many people I’ve talked to lately about the effects of Sonny Perdue’s price controls only return blank stares.

    Almost nobody knows the role of prices.

    Today the AJC interviewed a freaking psychology professor at Emory about why the pumps are running out. What the heck???? Perhaps an economics professor might have been a better choice?

    Had Perdue allowed the market to work, we’d still have problems caused by these wacky blends of fuel that we are forced to use, but the effect would be temporary high prices, not widespread shortages and long lines.

    I’ll take a dramatic short term spike in gas prices over those plastic bags covering the pumps.

  5. griftdrift says:

    “Today the AJC interviewed a freaking psychology professor at Emory about why the pumps are running out. What the heck???? ”

    Perhaps because of the current herd mentality? Last night I compared Georgians to cows in a thunderstorm.

  6. Icarus says:

    You question why people don’t understand economics, when, on the verge of the biggest government intervention in the history of the world, the AJC’s top stories include Miley Cirus leaving Hannah Montana, Nicole Kidman is pregnant, and Clay Aiken is gay?

  7. gt7348b says:

    I can say that our neighbor to the east was able to lift restrictions the Monday after Ike hit after a request from the fuel companies, so it wasn’t like the companies were caught flat footed. It also makes me wonder if the same companies called the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture too and, if so, what happened to their request?

  8. ButlerTReynolds says:

    Call it herd mentality if you like, but that’s the magic of prices in a free market. Without a single policeman directing traffic or the governor signing a single executive order, prices regulate the herd and send signals to those who can actually solve the problem that they can profit by solving it.

  9. tb says:

    I think the market will eventually cause gas guzzling SUVs to be the thing of th past. Who the heck is going to be able to take out a loan to buy one?

  10. GreenAllTheWay says:

    We need to move away from gas taxes and to the european model anyway, taxing based on miles traveled. Federal funding and Gas taxes are gone.

  11. Bill Simon says:


    Yes, water and gas are in short supply in this state…but, at least we ain’t got no gay marriage coming here in the next 20 years. We know our priorities in this heah state guvment…and NONE of them pertain to commonsense economic survival measures.

    ANY…HEY! Did you hear? Kathy Cox is smarter (or so the claim goes) than a 5th grader! Whoo-hoo! Bet those New England Northerners are gonna come down to live in Georgia now! Yeahhhh-buddy!

  12. Technocrat says:

    Obviously members haven’t checked North/South Carolina/TN as they are suffering worse:
    Asheville shuts colleges for the week…….Durham Raleigh out, as is Richmond ….”Richmond is also able to pull [gasoline supply] out of the north,” . “It doesn’t necessarily depend on the Colonial pipeline,”

    But Nashville seems to be the worst in SE:
    Gov. Bredesen said he “wished there were something local and state governments could do” but try as he might he just couldn’t think of a single solitary thing.”

    At least he’s being honest.

  13. Rick Day says:

    Did I tell you about my in-town 75 mpg 250 cc scooter? Holds $75 bucks worth of groceries!

    Parks at the bike racks, too. Never pay for parking. So much money saved!

    Oh for those longer commutes, there is my Honda VTX 1300 cruiser at 41mpg.

    And you have a friend in motorcycle cops. We all look out for each other, yo?

    Time to encourage more 2 wheel transportation. Time to repeal helmet laws, which mysteriously translate into more ridership.

    Go figure!

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