Fuel relief on the way

When will terminals receive gas deliveries?

Two terminals near North Augusta received gasoline shipments Monday and expected more today, said Emily Thompson, a spokeswoman for Kinder Morgan Energy Partners.

Michael Fields, the executive director of the South Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association, said he doesn't have a time line for when other terminals will receive supply.

"It really depends on who their supplier is and the location. We're hearing different things," Mr. Fields said. "I think it's a case-by-case basis."

Wholesalers have told Mr. Fields they are uncertain of the grade of gasoline (regular, premium or diesel) that will be available at the terminal. Even when they are told a particular grade is at the terminal, it could be gone when they get there, he said.

Why did this happen?

Hurricane Ike shut down 27 percent of the country's refining capacity in the past four days.

"That's a significant hit. The Gulf Coast is where we get our product, and we're dependent on what happens there," Mr. Fields said.

Red Cavaney, the president of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the major oil companies, told The Associated Press that refineries appeared to have escaped a repeat of the widespread damage three years ago from Hurricane Katrina.

When will supply return to normal?

It could take up to two weeks, said John Butler, the president of Koger-Walters Oil Co. in Augusta. Koger-Walters is a wholesaler for 21 BP gas stations in five counties.

It takes about seven days to get a shut-down refinery up and running, he said.

Recent allocations have been reduced from 40,000 gallons to 9,000 gallons per day.

Why are gas prices so high?

"People are upset about the price, and what they need to understand is the major oil companies have raised the price for in-state wholesalers multiple times since Thursday," Mr. Fields said. "Those costs are going to be unfortunately passed along. This whole thing has been a slap in the face to the whole petroleum chain all the way down to the consumer."

Some of the higher prices are attributable to stations going farther than North Augusta to get gasoline to sell, which adds to the price at the pump.

How do our prices compare to other places?

Augusta has the highest average gasoline price in Georgia, according to the AAA daily fuel gauge report. On Monday, Augusta's average price was $4.399 per gallon for regular gasoline. The next highest on the list was Albany at $4.309.

Reach LaTina Emerson at (706) 823-3227 or latina.emerson@augustachronicle.com.