Last Friday afternoon while I was driving, I noticed a whole bunch of cars all turning into the same gas station. I noticed that the gas station’s sign was not displaying a price for any gasoline other than diesel. I found it odd that so many cars were going to the gas station at once, and because I couldn’t think of anything else to explain it, I thought to myself, “You idiots, just because the gas station isn’t displaying a price for gasoline doesn’t mean it’s free!”
As I would find out a couple of hours later, the real reason so many cars were pulling into the gas station was that the fear of a gas shortage had set in. Apparently Florida gets some of its gasoline from Texas, and because Hurricane Ike was scheduled to hit into Texas at any moment, there was concern that we, as Tallahasseeans (?), would be without gasoline for who knows how long. And there you have it – self-perpetuated disaster. The price of gasoline shot up to as high as $5.45 per gallon for regular unleaded, and the cars lining up to buy the stuff stretched halfway down the block. I assure you, you have never seen so many cars crammed into a gas station parking lot in your life.
From what I’ve read, we (that is, Floridians) needn’t be so worried about gasoline. We get some of it from Alabama, and we supposedly have a decent amount of it stored away for safe keeping. But that hasn’t prevented Tallahassee from freaking out, and because of this fact, it has become quite difficult to buy gasoline here in the state’s capital. For the past week, almost every gas station has been bone dry. No prices are being flashed on the gas station marquees, and plastic bags cover the gas nozzles to signal drivers that there is no petroleum on site.
It has only been over the last few days that some stations have once again had gasoline. The problem is, this merely instigates a surge of gasoline consumerism that quickly leaves the station’s fuel supply depleted. Within hours, there is nothing left, and again the plastic bags are returned to the nozzles telling hopeful customers not to bother. Because Melanie and I don’t drive all that much, I have never bothered participating in this charade, figuring things would be back to normal by the time we were really desperate for gas. But last night, the low fuel indicator light in our Toyota Corolla finally sprang to life. Only hours before, I had seen overpriced gasoline available at a station very near our apartment, so as I made my way home from school after dark (Thursdays are my late days), I stopped at this same gas station hoping to buy at least a gallon or two. But they were out. I didn’t dare keep driving around, so I just went home and figured I’d try again in the morning, hoping that a new shipment of gasoline would have been delivered by then.
This morning, I hopped online and read some reports that at least a few gas stations near my home had gasoline available. I figured I better join the crowds and go fuel up before it was all gone. But by the time I was out there, which was shortly before 9 a.m., the locations I had read about were empty. Nothing left. Fortunately and finally, the fifth gas station I came to had gas, and at the not-too-shabby price of $3.56 a gallon. I had to wait in line about 15-20 minutes in order to fill up, but I’m just glad my fear that the station would run out of gas while I was waiting in line did not come to fruition. I’m also glad my car doesn’t hold much more than 10 gallons, since that was the maximum purchase allowed by this particular gas station.
Long story short: I have gas, and I am happy.