I've been a little distracted from blogging for the past week by the gas crisis that has settled slowly but inexorably over the region. Parts of the southeast have been in the midst of a massive gas shortage since Hurricane Ike shut down the refineries which supply it more than a week ago. Only a trickle of fuel is entering the region now, and it is being rationed amongst various stations. A station which gets gas gets half-mile-long lines along with it, and a new supply can sell out within hours. A report from Charlotte, NC on the situation can be read here. The frightening thing is that nobody seems to know for sure when things will return to at least a semblance of normalcy: a day? two days? a week?
Fortunately, I only teach one day a week, so I've been working from home most days to conserve gas. I also drive a hybrid Civic (purchased with some foresight on my part in 2004), and am able to get farther on a tank than most people. Even that, though, is running low. If this crisis continues for a few more days, I think cities in the region are going to start looking a bit like ghost towns.
I'm a little baffled by the fact that a smaller version of this event happened in 2005, when Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. One would think that officials would have seen the possibility of an even more severe disruption and taken steps to diversify the gas supply.