09:32 – USPS is running today. Lori just stopped to pick up a couple of kits and told me that the Sparta area is getting limited gasoline deliveries. I suspected as much. When I took Colin out this morning to pick up the paper, there was a tanker truck sitting in the 4 Brothers/Liberty station across the road. The odd thing was that it’s normally a Beroth Oil tanker, because Beroth owns the chain of stores. This time, it was a generic tanker. The other odd thing was that when I looked again an hour or so later, the station still had the gas pumps blocked off. I wonder if the city/county has limited this station to filling emergency vehicles until the supply situation is resolved.
Lori also told me that things are getting crazy out there. When a guy at the Wilco station finally got to the pump, he filled up his tank and gas cans and then sat blocking the pump while he called his friends on his cell phone and told them that he’d keep the pump blocked until they could get there to fill up. Other people in line didn’t take that well, of course, and fist fights broke out. It’s just lucky that no one started shooting.
The problem, of course, is panic buying. Most people wait until their gas gauge is down to a quarter or less before they fill their tanks. In recent days, everyone has been filling their tanks regardless of how much they had left, not to mention filling every gas can available. Not to mention trying to hold a place in line until their friends can get there. Even if the pipeline and distribution system is operating at normal capacity, there’s no way it can keep up with that kind of demand.
My takeaway on all this is that once the emergency passes and gas cans are available again, we need to buy at least two or three cans, fill them, treat them with fuel stabilizer, and periodically cycle them through our vehicles. Not so much to have fuel for the vehicles as to have fuel for our generator if there’s a long-term power failure. I’ve calculated that we can run our well pump long enough to keep us supplied with water at a minimal level on five gallons or so of gasoline a month.