Gas could stabilize in weeks

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Columbus Day this year might be more than a celebration of a European's discovery of the Americas. It could also be the day when the Augusta area's gasoline supplies return to normal.

Power was restored Friday to the last of the 16 undamaged oil refineries that were knocked out of commission by Hurricane Ike, which swept through the Gulf Coast two weeks ago.

But the shortage of gasoline to this area, and other pockets of the Southeast, will persist for a few more weeks, said Michael Fields, the executive director of the South Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association.

According to the U.S. Energy Department, three refineries remained shut down Friday and five more were classified as restarting. Ten other refineries affected by hurricanes Gustav and Ike were running at reduced levels, the government reported.

Ryan Mossman, the vice president and general manager of fuel management for Houston-based FuelQuest, said Oct. 13 -- Columbus Day -- is a good target date for the Augusta area's supply woes to wane.

It takes seven days or more to restart a refinery, Mr. Mossman said.

Then it takes four to six days for the gasoline to travel 900 miles from Texas to the North Augusta terminal, where most of the gas stations in the Augusta-Aiken area normally get their supply.

"It travels about 3 to 5 miles per hour," Mr. Mossman said.

Lines at some gas stations are moving much slower than that. Motorists lined up into the street again Friday, and scattered gas stations reported they were out of fuel.

What is making the shortage worse, Mr. Mossman said, are the people keeping their tanks as full as possible because they're worried about missing work if they can't find gas later -- and that includes businesses with fleets.

"The oil industry infrastructure is not like a grid on the downtown street where if something is shut down, I go one street over," Mr. Mossman said. "You've got particular areas that are served off particular pipelines or spurs of pipelines. Alternative options are limited."

Midland Valley is in one of those areas. Mr. Fields said the North Augusta fuel terminal has been running so low this week that it is no longer the No. 1 option as a supplier for area gas stations.

The stations are flocking to the coast and getting their tanker trucks filled up in Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., he said. Those terminals are being supplied by ship with gasoline purchased from Europe.

"That's been the saving grace for us," Mr. Fields said. "Because we are so pipeline dependant, that is what has kept our head above water."

FuelQuest, which manages fuel for companies, has been directing gasoline shipments into the Southeast from places such as Ohio and Illinois to compensate for the shortage.

"We've taken tanker trucks from Maryland into North Carolina and South Carolina. It seems crazy, but you've got to go where the product is," Mr. Mossman said.

The panic buying will stop once the supply returns to normal.

"More product shows up, there are less stations out equals less panic," Mr. Mossman said.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or timothy.rausch@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING


GROVETOWN: "Circle K, we have gas," a cheerful Tonya Bovee said Friday afternoon as she answered the phone and rang up purchases for a steady stream of customers. The store had no limits on how much customers could buy as long as they had cash or cards, the cashier said.

BEECH ISLAND: Todd's Convenience Food Store on Sand Bar Ferry Road in Beech Island was packed Friday. "We actually have it right now," said the owner's wife, Karen Todd. They were limiting customers to $25 maximum purchases to try to stretch their supply, she said.

WAYNESBORO, GA: The Golden Pantry Food Pantry in downtown Waynesboro was out of gas Friday afternoon, but the Stop N Shop on Sixth Street had gas.


-- Sandy Hodson, staff writer

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Dixieman
14943
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Dixieman 09/27/08 - 09:00 am
0
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Plenty, plenty gas last night

Plenty, plenty gas last night and today, stop the panic, quit getting refills when your gauge reads 7/8. Conspiracy...Trilateral Commission...NAFTA...Skull & Bones...Bilderberg Group...Giant Lizards...nah, just normal supply & demand.

iabeewalkingtomemphis
0
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iabeewalkingtomemphis 09/27/08 - 09:42 am
0
0
BULLSHIET, is all the article

BULLSHIET, is all the article is. That pipline has spurs off it all the way from TX to North Augusta. All you do is divert gas from another area into the NA pipeline.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 09/27/08 - 09:49 am
0
0
"The store had no limits on

"The store had no limits on how much customers could buy as long as they had cash or cards, the cashier said." Please tell me what else can be used to buy gas?

kai@reasontostand.org
1
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kai@reasontostand.org 09/27/08 - 09:54 am
0
0
No longer, I dunno, try

No longer, I dunno, try carrying a chicken and a goat down there and see if they accept it in trade for some gas ;-)

sickofthismess
0
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sickofthismess 09/27/08 - 09:57 am
0
0
Welll how about bringing some

Welll how about bringing some gas to South Augusta...because there is none!!! This is crazy!!! I can ride to West Augusta and get gas near my job.....but I have not found a station in South Augusta yet with any!!!

3gifts
0
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3gifts 09/27/08 - 10:14 am
0
0
Its Bubba and Shaquesha and

Its Bubba and Shaquesha and their inbred and ghetto cousins that are starting this panic. Gas stations are trying to buy enough for the normal traffic that they usually receive....not for all the cars that you have in the yard and the gas can you keep for the lawnmower. No wonder they think Southerners are stupid! Where is your faith? Fighting at the gas station.....please! You're falling right into the trap...

batya
280
Points
batya 09/27/08 - 10:18 am
0
0
I just got back home from

I just got back home from taking my son to work and there are just as many cars on the road as ever! People are driving around like we have plenty of gas to go around....it needs to stop until we get things back to normal! In Martinez there is only one gas station with gas this morning and it has two huge lines going in. We have got to learn how to conserve! I wish they would ration gas out!

imdstuf
10
Points
imdstuf 09/27/08 - 10:39 am
0
0
I think they should ration it

I think they should ration it for a week or two. People can say that is not fair, but since people do not want to use common sense then someone has to do it for them.

CyndiCk
0
Points
CyndiCk 09/27/08 - 10:50 am
0
0
Oh God, I'll be in a mental

Oh God, I'll be in a mental institution before this is over with.

twilahzone
0
Points
twilahzone 09/27/08 - 11:19 am
0
0
I agree. .it should be

I agree. .it should be rationed out. It may hurt the ones who have darn near empty gas tanks. . but it will curb those who like to "top off." Gas could be rationed out like even/odd days for watering. For the first time in a while, I actually got off my thick/fat arse and walked to a parts store. Yes, I said WALKED. You know, that thing in which you place one foot in front of the other and move your body forward. I can get through this short phase of not having gasoline. I drive my car only when I have to. . and I have to travel a lot when working. I have been feeling better since I started walking a little. Will the walking continue once normal gas supply returns? I would like for it to, but you know human nature. :)

Doe
0
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Doe 09/27/08 - 11:49 am
0
0
If they would ration the gas,

If they would ration the gas, it would help end the fear of those like myself that don't have a clue when the gas will be replaced and feel the need to make sure there is gas in the tank, if nothing else, in case of emergency. Rationing would also move the gas lines through much quicker. I feel sorry for those who are traveling on I-20 and in need of gas when passing through our area. They have no idea where the mom and pop stations are that may still have gas. Rationing is the answer to the problem we are having in this area.

mommie2
2
Points
mommie2 09/27/08 - 12:36 pm
0
0
Rationing and common sense

Rationing and common sense and carpooling. I know people who have three cars and feel the need to fill all of them up even though they don't use them all. Ridiculous if you ask me.

mommie2
2
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mommie2 09/27/08 - 12:37 pm
0
0
Read this comment from

Read this comment from edgefielddaily.com: Thursday night I had to come to Strom Thurmond High School for a football game. I have not been part of the panic at the gas stations and only buy gas when I need it. I was low and went by the stations in town and one had a line of 25 to 30 vehicles. I went on to (another station) and saw that they had a pump open with a white female in a white pickup truck pumping gas in her vehicle. I pulled in behind her to wait to get gas, even though the sign said $3.99. After several minutes, she ensured that she filled her vehicle to the rim and removed the nozzle. As I was waiting for her to pull off, she reached inside her truck and pulled out a white grocery bag and put it on the nozzle. I looked at her and she shrugged her shoulders. I rolled down my window in confusion and asked what she was doing. She responded that she had payed for her gas earlier in the day and that the other stations in town had gas. She smiled and walked away.

Obviously, this individual was an employee or family member. It is also obvious that the station was not out of gas, which may be part of the overall problem. It appears to me that maybe some of the

mommie2
2
Points
mommie2 09/27/08 - 12:38 pm
0
0
(cont) It appears to me that

(cont) It appears to me that maybe some of the stations who close off their pumps are not doing so because their tanks are empty. I know that I will never buy as much as a candy bar from that business again.

keepinitreal
0
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keepinitreal 09/27/08 - 01:01 pm
0
0
I feel we all had better

I feel we all had better thank our higher power for allowing us to have what and as we do. Let's hope and pray that we don't have another "Natural Dissaster" (Ike) to form again and reak more havoc. I would like to recommend reading the " Idiot's Guide to the Last Days" and have a bible to refrence the translation. Read the book and form your opnion of how it breaks down the meaning of these things we are experiencing like this shortage of the gas. I think this would be called or known as an "Abomination" which is something equivalent to suffering.

Obama_08
0
Points
Obama_08 09/27/08 - 02:01 pm
0
0
All this isn't gone be a

All this isn't gone be a problem when Obama is in the chair

iabeewalkingtomemphis
0
Points
iabeewalkingtomemphis 09/27/08 - 02:29 pm
0
0
You are right, the man. There

You are right, the man. There won't be ANY gas and even if there was, you won't have anything to buy it with! By the way, that's "going".

CSRAresident
1
Points
CSRAresident 09/27/08 - 02:39 pm
0
0
tjohns, which station was

tjohns, which station was this so we can help by not going there as well.

tmax72
0
Points
tmax72 09/27/08 - 03:11 pm
0
0
Hello everyone I have just

Hello everyone I have just come from the Bel air road stations and none have gas as far as Harlem they do not have gas Grovetown is dry as far out as Fast Fare on Gordon Hwy and the BP JEt store in Harlem just got some gas but only premium. I do not go out very often so I do not use alot of gas but when I do it is awful to actually run out of it going between here and there trying to find it. Usually it is man I need gas but have no gas money now it is just the opposite money no gas. If anyone out there knows of a relatively close station that is up and running now please let me know. Thanks alot.

BuckeyeInGA
114
Points
BuckeyeInGA 09/27/08 - 04:32 pm
0
0
How are police cars, fire

How are police cars, fire trucks and ambulances getting gas? This is my main concern.

carpenter6011
0
Points
carpenter6011 09/27/08 - 04:49 pm
0
0
I know it's a ride, but the "

I know it's a ride, but the " Pair Of Jacks" out past Pollards corner always has gas and does not price gouge.

mrgitpaid
0
Points
mrgitpaid 09/27/08 - 06:46 pm
0
0
As ridiculous as it sounds

As ridiculous as it sounds .... were gonna have to pick up the phone and ask the GAS stations if they have GAS or not before we go on wild chases that could leave us gAssed out.

mommie2
2
Points
mommie2 09/27/08 - 07:23 pm
0
0
Wish I knew...but it was

Wish I knew...but it was removed from the post.

scrapple
0
Points
scrapple 09/27/08 - 07:31 pm
0
0
Is it okay now to talk about

Is it okay now to talk about electric cars? Neither candidate mentioned that during the debate. Can we bring back the GM EV-1?

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 09/27/08 - 09:34 pm
0
0
There should be a twenty five

There should be a twenty five dollar limit and no topping off if you have more than half a tank. And definitely no hoarding allowed by filling up gas cans.

fred1217
4
Points
fred1217 09/27/08 - 11:10 pm
0
0
Now at least most of you

Now at least most of you should see that after Iraq and No WMDs, Enron, Katrena, the Trillion Dollar Wall Street Bailout, High Gas, Record Oil Company Profits, now No Gas...There are more important things than Monica Lewinsky's Blue Dress and building a new baseball stadium on the river.

luv2scrapbk
0
Points
luv2scrapbk 09/27/08 - 11:26 pm
0
0
Here we are struggling to

Here we are struggling to find a gas station with gasoline in the tanks, Congress is in session, and there are still no talks about serious leglislation to 1. Start drilling in the Atlantic and Alaska. 2. Start seriously funding alternate sources of energy for our cars & homes. Reminder: Democrats hold the majority in both the House and Senate, right now. Yet, they refuse to enact anything except this illbegotten buyout of Wall Street.

reb007
1
Points
reb007 09/27/08 - 11:29 pm
0
0
Remember Greggs Gas Plus a

Remember Greggs Gas Plus a few weeks ago 5.29 a gallon. People said they never buy there again. Well, well, they line now to get gas. I wouldn't buy gas there if it was 25 cents a gallon.

curly123053
4671
Points
curly123053 09/28/08 - 12:01 am
0
0
Blockade the Thirteenth St

Blockade the Thirteenth St Bridge to stop Ga folks from coming to SC and stealing our gas.. Wonder if that would help the shortage???lol

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