Aside from sniping at the panic-filled consumers and our criminally ignorant Governor Mike Easley and Attorney General Roy Cooper, I can relay to you the problems in the logistics of this temporary fuel supply crunch.
Most of our fuel in western North Carolina comes from a pipeline that runs from the Gulf of Mexico to Spartanburg, South Carolina. [see map in a previous post] The fuel is brought to WNC by means of tanker trucks on journeys that can take several hours, further reducing the rate at which fuel can be delivered to the gas station.
According to the latest DOE Sitrep [see pdf here], the Colonial Pipeline is operating at a reduced capacity and others are as well. Read the whole report to get a feel for the big picture, and the serious nature of this temporary crunch in supply. Daily Sitreps are available.
Shipping is reduced in the Intra-coastal Waterway (see pdf above):
As of 8:00 AM EDT September 23, vessels with drafts over 34 feet are limited to daylight transit only from Sims Bayou to the Houston ship channel turning basin. The Sabine and Neches Channel going into the Port Arthur area is now open to vessels to project depth for daylight transit and limited to drafts of 33 feet at night. Part of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in TX has re-opened, but it is still closed from mile marker 350 to 319 and has some closures in LA as well. The Calcasieu Channel into Lake Charles, LA is open to vessels with a draft of 38' or less.
US Inventories are down:
U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 11.5 million barrels per day during theSource: Weekly Petroleum Status Report
week ending September 19, down more than 1.7 million barrels per day from the
previous week's average. Refineries operated at 66.7 percent of their operable
capacity last week. Gasoline production fell last week, averaging about 8.0
million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last
week, averaging nearly 3.3 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged 7.1 million barrels per day last week, down
nearly 1.4 million barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four
weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 8.5 million barrels per day, about 1.8
million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor
gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending
components) last week averaged 1.2 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel
imports averaged 199 thousand barrels per day last week.
And out at sea, there are still problems:
Source: Murphy OilMarket sources said about 32 gasoline cargoes were on their way to
the New York Harbor from Europe, and nearly half of them were unsold. In
normal circumstances, these unsold cargoes would be diverted to the U.S.
Gulf Coast market since there's no storage space left in the Harbor.
However, ports along the Gulf Coast, especially the Houston Channel,
currently have a huge backlog of ships delayed by Hurricane Ike. And
because recovery is still underway in the region, there are limitations
on what types of ships can be accommodated by these Gulf ports and when
they are allowed to come in.
So, no matter how much Asheville Mayor Bellamy or Carl Mumpower or Congressman Heath Shuler or Governor Mike Easly, or even local bloggers cry for whatever solution they see fit...they can do nothing about the continued crunch in supply that will continue for a period of two weeks or so.
All Mayor Bellamy or Governor Easley will accomplish by diverting supplies here is a continued masking of the problem, which will add to the problem, not take away...as it will lower inventories in other areas and encourage people here to delay lowering their consumption. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Chill, people. Stay at home, read a book or watch TV. Don't run around like a chicken with your head cut off because you can't get gasoline so you can eat out or get drunk at a bar.
People in Texas and Louisiana have lost their family members, their homes, their jobs and you are freaking out because you can't go cruising? Get a grip, and quit being so selfish.
Gas Crunch: AB-Tech Closes Until Monday
Update on Gas Crunch: Causes and Solutions
Gas Lines and Toilet Paper During The Gas Panic of 2008
Leaf Looking Season Cancelled in WNC Due to Lack of Fuel
Price Gouging Laws Are Evil
Gas Panic in Jackson County North Carolina !!!