Sep 24, 2008
Atlanta Gas Shortage
Alpharetta, GA. The photojournalist in me couldn't help but take some photos while getting gas (finally) at the BP station in Alpharetta this morning. Yikes! $4.25 a gallon! According to a report I heard on the radio this morning, Atlanta is looking at the highest gas prices in the nation except for Hawaii and Alaska.
I got up this morning with my baby boy and drove around for an hour on what little gas I had left in my tank. All the gas stations from Old Milton Parkway to the Alpharetta Highway all the way down to Mansell Road in Roswell were dry. Even the stations with markees advertising gas were empty except in rare instances where diesel was available. It was a depressing sight: sacks covering gas pump nozzles, duct tape over the unleaded and premium selection buttons, "Sorry, out of gas" signs. So, we finally headed home, determined not to waste any more gas on what seemed to be a fruitless search.
At home, I checked the Atlanta Gas Prices.com website one more time. (There were no listings for gas in my area before I left this morning). Success! There was gas at Costco (sigh, no membership there) but also BP on Winward Parkway. The listing said there was gas at 8:30 a.m. when the post was made. I checked the clock. 8:54. I wasn't going to take a chance that we would miss out. I grabbed my boy and headed up to the station.
Once we got gas, I headed to Wal-mart and stocked up on essentials for a couple weeks: milk, canned food, cereal, diapers, etc. I told the checker that my plan was not to have to go to the store for 2 weeks; I didn't want to use the gas. "Yeah, and there's no gas anyway," the lady behind me chimed in. "I had to call three stations before I found one with gas this morning." (Why didn't I think of that?)
Yesterday, when I knew gas was going to be a problem for us, I did some online research to find websites that might have information about where to get gas. The best two I found were Atlanta Gas Prices.com and MSN Autos Gas Prices. Each lets you type in your zip code and it lists the price and location of each gas station. Incidentally, they also have the phone numbers of each of the gas stations. (I think I'll try that next time.)
Why can't we get gas? Hurricanes Gustav and Ike shut down several refineries, and gas availability is limited. This has been compounded by the fact that Atlanta requires a cleaner mix of fuel. For now, that requirement has been waived. (See this article from the AJC.) Meanwhile, suppliers are trying to get gas from other areas of the country. It may take two weeks or more for the gas shortages to stop.
So, to all of you Atlanta drivers, hang in there. We're just going to have to wait this one out. Me? I'm staying home. No nonessential trips. I guess those library books will have to wait, and we'll go to the local swing set instead of going to the nicer park 10 miles away. At least my camera doesn't run on gas.