“An oil pipeline break and shutdown in Alabama could create a gas shortage in Middle Tennessee,” media reported. Everyone was urged to maintain normal driving and fuel purchases to prevent unavailability.
Immediately phones started ringing, people started calling other people and posting about the shortage on social media. Everyone jumped in their car and sped to the gas station – just in case there might be a shortage.
Lines grew; other people saw the lines and figured something must be going on. So, they got in the line too. After all, if there was going to be a gas shortage, they wanted to be sure their tank was full.
People who didn’t actually need gas decided to top off their tanks. Rednecks cleaned out all the gas cans in their garages and filled them up with gas.
Sure enough, gas stations started running out of gas. What a surprise!
People who actually needed gas couldn’t get gas. Gas pumps were covered with plastic bags at station after station. You can tell which stations are sold out because they are the ones that don’t have a line.
People start calling gas stations looking for gas. Gas stations ordered gas, but couldn’t get it delivered fast enough. If a tanker was spotted on the highway, motorists followed it and flocked like flies to the station getting gas. Lines backed up on roadways and tempers flared as traffic was blocked.
More gas was used driving around looking for gas and sitting in line waiting for gas than for actually driving. When regular gas ran out, people went to premium, so it was quickly drained too.
People bought extra cans of gas and carried them around in the trunk of their cars. Gasoline is like dynamite that could go off in a confined area if vapors ignite. Catastrophe was riding around the city waiting to happen.
So far, no fireballs have been reported.
Entrepreneurs filled gas cans and sold gas at an inflated price to people who didn’t have any. For $5, extra they told them where they got it.
Price gouging at gas stations was widely reported, and a hotline set up to report it, but nothing was done about violators as far as anyone can tell.
AAA reported that the crisis would be over by next weekend. Why ask AAA? They give maps, directions and make reservations. They are a travel agency, not experts on economics or the marketplace.
They also are not experts on human behavior.
We were running on fumes before we found gas and then paid an inflated price per gallon. At first I thought the station was sold out since there was no line. When I saw the prices, however, I knew why they didn’t have a line.
Eventually stations will begin to get gas deliveries and lines will become shorter. Most everyone will have filled up already by then– not to mention the stockpiles of gasoline in rusty gas cans all over the city. This city could go off like the Fourth of July.
The media is trying to calm the panic by reporting that there is plenty of gasoline if people will not panic and run to gas stations like a bunch of lemmings just because every one else does.
Telling people not to panic is a sure way to create panic. Watch out! They could stampede for the gas pumps at any minute.