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Gustav, Then Ike — When Will The Gas Shortage End?

The one-two punch of hurricanes Gustav & Ike caused flooding and power outages, and shut down 15 Houston-area refineries. And they are not going to be back up for another two weeks.

Bad timing for the hurricanes. Refineries’ supplies were low in preparation to the switch to “winter blends.”

Gas station customers are not amused. High prices are one thing, but no gas supply at all is another.

“People become desperate, man, availability is more important than price,” says John Baen, a pipeline expert at the University of North Texas in Denton. “It’s the South today, but it could be [Boston and Chicago] tomorrow.”

In Asheville, one gas station owner had to call police after at least three fistfights broke out. An Alabama paper said the regional mood was “as jumpy as a frog farm.”

We’ll take the blizzards any day.

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