While Ike was a lot less damaging than he could have been, it turns out that he did wreak enough havoc to create a severe gas shortage across the southeast.
I raise this for two reasons.
One, this can’t be helping the mood down there…running out of gas is both shocking and distinctly un-American.
Two, this just shows what happens to complex delivery networks that operate on a just-in-time delivery basis.
[quote]In Atlanta, half of the gasoline stations were closed, according to AAA, which said the supply disruptions had taken place along two major petroleum product pipelines that have operated well below capacity since the hurricanes knocked offshore oil production and several refineries out of service along the Gulf of Mexico.
Drivers in Charlotte reported lines with as many as 60 cars waiting to fill up late Wednesday night, and a community college in Asheville, N.C., where most of the 25,000 students commute, canceled classes and closed down Wednesday afternoon for the rest of the week. Shortages also hit Nashville, Knoxville and Spartanburg, S.C., AAA said.
Terrance Bragg, a chef in Charlotte, made it to work only because his grandfather drove from a town an hour away with a 5-gallon plastic container of fuel for him. Three of his co-workers called and said they couldn’t make it.
"I drove past nine or ten gasoline stations that were out of gas," Bragg said. "I had my GPS up looking for any gas in the area, from the mom-and-pop places to the corporate gas stations. Nothing. They were all taped off."[/quote]
I don’t think the issue was oil supply, because destroying 13,000 barrels a day out of 1 million+ that come from the Gulf is really not that big a deal.
[quote]Offshore Infrastructure Destroyed – As of September 23, 2008, 52 of the 3,800 offshore oil and gas production platforms, three jack-up drilling rigs, and one platform drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico have been destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Initial estimates are that the 52 destroyed production platforms produced a total of 13,300 barrels of oil per day and 90 million cubic feet of gas per day…Currently, MMS has no information on whether any of the destroyed platforms will be rebuilt by any operator.
The issue, I suppose was actually the electricity to the refiners themselves.
Nonetheless, this issue of running out of gas could contribute to another tiny loss-of-faith in the robustness of our particular model of capitalism (where extra gasoline is not stored nearby because of the carrying costs).