A look at Survival and Preparedness, Firearms, Ham Radio, German Shepherds, Photography and other related stuff! 73 Later, ZombieAxe :-)


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ramblings and Observations of the fuel shortage in Western North Carolina...

This was written over a period of several days so sorry if my train of thought gets derailed!!!

Once again prepping pays off!

The pipeline that supplies WNC with fuel has not be running @ full capacity since Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas coast 2 weeks ago. Gas supplies have been lacking in our area since then.

It is kind of spooky seeing all those pumps with bags over the nozzles. You immediately know which stations have fuel and those that don't.

The ones that do look like a 40 car pileup on the interstate as motorists jockey for pump position.

The ones with NO fuel look pretty barren with usually only the employee's vehicles in the parking lot. There is diesel for sale about anywhere that carries it in abundant supply.

My personal vehicle is by choice a gas sipper, so I can drive 6 days a week on 12 gallons of gas. The family vehicle doesn't do that well, but it is close to 30 mpg.

If it wouldn't be for my work vehicle (10 mpg gas powered 25 gallon tank Truck) I wouldn't even notice this crisis outside of observing it as a spectator.

My employer has me to refuel from gas stations via a fuel card. Other than what is in the tank, that is all I can store. Some smart managers in Asheville that work for the same company, have hashed out deals to deliver and fuel work trucks at the place of employment. My managers, unfortunately , don't think that far ahead, and I have to spend an hour every other day to fight the masses to jockey for position at the pump...

The folks in line at the pumps have been suprisingly civil, but that is not the case everywhere. A few towns over, a man pulled a gun on another man becuase he beat him to the pump. Waiting in a line with a bunch of angry people, the smallest thing can make someone go off the deep end! Be on a high level of alert while waiting to fuel up (or anytime) as ANYTHING can happen!

Watching the Charlotte, NC news last night, there was alot of heated verbal exchanges going on there. Not suprising really as Charlotte is a madhouse when things are going right!!!

I honestly feel sorry for those that are passing through North Carolina on their way to home or vacation that get stranded in our state. One fellar was stuck in Charlotte on his way back to Rhode Island just waiting to get some gas to continue his journe

Here is how I have been making out so far. Luckily the golden S&P rule of keeping your gas tank half full is an great way to give you options. When you are on empty your choices of where to get fuel is limited to your immediate area. With the 1/2 tank trigger, if you can not find fuel there, you can drive on to the next town.

To prevent folks from taking too much gas and to give everyone a fair shot, many gas stations will limit your fuel purchase to 10 gallons. Most average gas tanks hold from 12 to 20 gallons... Well within the half tank trigger/ 10 gallon limit!

Remember how people were stealing gas when it rose to $3 a gallon??? Well I expect those type people will be even more desperate when there is NO Gas to be had. I have locking gas caps on all my vehicles as well as a fuel tank patch kit in case someone decides to go the "poke a hole" route.

As I mentioned before, half a tank is when you should be your trigger to fill up. Many of the so called "officials" and "experts" say to wait until you are BELOW a quarter tank before you refuel... So you will not just top off all the time... That is stupid thinking!!! When one refuels and tops off a 3/4 full 12 gallon tank... That is 3 gallons... When one fills up a 1/4 full tank... That is 9 gallons!!! Doesn't make much sense to me either!

I do understand that folks filling up all the time and getting 20 extra gallons makes for limited supplies to be even scarcer. However, I don't want to be the guy with the empty tank when the last of the fuel is pumped out and I am still on empty pumping nothing but air in my tank! Dang work truck!!!

For my personal vehicles I do not hafta participate in the get the gas race. So in the evenings I smile with glee as I dodge the traffic jams created by desperate people and head home to the sticks...

Just today I had to work up in the mountains. They are bad off up there as well but all the stations were empty in my town of employment. I figured my best bet was to head up the Interstate and not be a part of the roving pack of thristy vehicles. Tried a truck stop a few miles up... No joy... They bagged their pumps like all the others. Decided my next stop would be the way I was going anyways... Wouldn't you know it... A nice sized truck stop with... GAS!!! And no lines!!! So I pulled in, pumped my fuel and was on my way in 10 minutes! Lucky me!

In my experience, the larger truck stops that cater mostly to truckers almost ALWAYS have fuel. It may have something to do with them being a larger volume seller of fuel and a good agreement with their supplier. Also these truck stops have plenty of room to snake your way in line much safer than waiting on the road!!!

I have not seen many folks buying up extra fuel, but on the front page of the Charlotte Observer there was a fellar filling up four 5-6 gallon gas cans, but three of them were kerosene blue ones (If he has a kerosene heater, I hope he doesn't forget what he put in there... his arse, not mine!!!)...

I have also witnessed that large gas cans (5+ gallon size) are in short supply... Get your stuff before everyone else has the SAME idea!!! WTSHTF is no time to get your gear order form filled out!!!

I have enough fuel to ride this out for now, but I probably don't have enough to satisfy my mental comfort level. Alot of S&P prepping involves you deciding on a prep level that is in your comfort zone. Then a situation arises (like this gas shortage) where you 'were' comfortable, but realize that you would be better of with a higher level of that prep...

So when things settle down and supplies get back to normal, I will restock what I used, and add a little more capacity for the next time this happens...

Thanks for reading, 73!Later,ZA

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