Atlanta, Ga. -- Two weeks ago, a gasoline shortage virtually shut down Greater Atlanta. Now the shortage has disappeared, "almost as quickly as it came on," says Kenneth L. Marcella, DVM, an equine practitioner in Canton, Ga.
-- Two weeks ago, a gasoline shortage virtually shut down Greater Atlanta. Now the shortage has disappeared, "almost as quickly as it came on," says Kenneth L. Marcella, DVM, an equine practitioner in Canton, Ga.
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"It was so bad for a while that none of the stations in my area (70 miles north of Atlanta) had any fuel. You could find it maybe at one station in 100 miles," says Marcella, who like many equine practitioners and other mobile veterinary services, puts a lot of miles on his work vehicle.
During the two-week shortage, which affected northern Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, prices surged well over $4 a gallon. "The average was about $4.19 for regular," Marcella recalls.
"Not only do we have gasoline again, the price dropped just as suddenly too," he adds. "Now it's running around $3.42 a gallon for regular."
The problem began when Hurricanes Gustav and Ike interrupted production at Gulf Coast refineries. But the whole nation wasn't affected. "I'm going to look into the reasons, because it could easily happen again," says Marcella. "Another storm and we're in the same ballpark. I'm told it depends on which pipeline system serves a given area. Practitioners I know up around Nashville were having the same problems."
The shortage led to long lines at many stations and occasionally triggered fights. "There was a police presence in many places; it was crazy," Marcella says.
While he timed his gasoline buying efforts for early morning or late at night, Marcella says he once found himself stranded in a rural area at night, without enough fuel to get home, forcing someone to bring fuel to him.Marcella admits that carrying a five-gallon gasoline can in his truck cab, the only space he had available, was dangerous but necessary, and that many other drivers did the same. "If you happened to see a tanker pull up to a station, there would be 20 or 30 cars pulling in behind it," he recalls."They even considered postponing the Georgia-Alabama football game, so you know it was bad," Marcella says.