Gasoline supply, consumer habits returning to normal

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The head of Georgia’s convenience store association says his members are no longer seeing lines of panicked motorists in search of gasoline.

Shipments of gasoline along the pipeline from the Gulf Coast are reaching the Augusta-Aiken area again, which should curb the “pandemonium,” said Jim Tudor, president of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores.

“This will be over when the people believe it is over. To the extent that people are willing to believe that there will be gas tomorrow and that impacts what they do today, that goes a long way toward allowing the system to return to normal,” Mr. Tudor said. “People will use normal filling patterns.”

Aiding in that perception is the arrival of gasoline for Shell stations, as Circle K is the largest chain in the area.

The supply situation has not returned to normal levels, however. John Butler, president of Koger-Walters Oil Co. in Augusta, said 17 of the gas stations that his company supplies are still dry.

“We haven’t delivered gas in two days,” Mr. Butler said. “We’re hoping that things will pick up today and we’ll have more product to deliver.”

Mr. Butler said he feels that it will be another week before his supply is back to normal.

Houston-area refineries that were knocked out of commission by Hurricane Ike three weeks ago have re-started, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, though many of them are not yet operating at full production capacity.

Mr. Tudor, who is based in Atlanta, said most of the major companies are at near-normal fuel supply allocation in the Atlanta area.

“My retailers tell me that the pandemonium and the panic buying seems to have subsided. People have returned to more normal filling patterns, which will allow more people to have gas,” Mr. Tudor said.


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