Long gas lines and hours of waiting to fill up aren’t over yet. According to a release from Buncombe County this morning, “local distributors report that it will be at least another week before fuel is flowing regularly in our area.” The release also asks citizens to not panic and conserve when possible.
While county officials have asked nonemergency employees to work from home, they are keeping all offices open with reduced staff, and “are confident that they have enough fuel to keep all essential services such as emergency management and law enforcement running so that all 911 calls will be answered without interruption.” The city of Asheville has also announced that it’s taking steps to conserve fuel, such as canceling all nighttime city-sponsored athletic activities and operating with minimum staffing levels.
Hurricanes in the Gulf Coast area shut down refineries and pipelines that provide the lion’s share of the region’s gas. While supplies are flowing again, it’s at irregular intervals and a much reduced rate, creating shortages and long waits at the gas stations that are still open.
More information on how to stretch your gas dollar is here.
The full releases from the county and city are below.
— David Forbes, staff writer
County Urges Citizens Not to Panic – Conserve Where Possible
Based on discussion with local fuel distributors in our area, the County is asking all citizens to conserve their gas. Local distributors report that it will be at least another week before fuel is flowing regularly in our area. Deliveries will remain sporadic to stations throughout the area.
County officials are confident that they have enough fuel to keep all essential services such as emergency management and law enforcement running so that all 911 calls will be answered without interruption. All non-emergency County staff have been asked to continue on an alternate schedule and/or from home this week. Citizens will notice fewer employees in County offices but all services will be provided and all offices will remain open with reduced staff. These measures will help assure fuel for emergency responders and our citizens. Further reductions will be made if necessary.
They ask that all citizens please consolidate trips to conserve and consider cancelling unnecessary driving until we see the end of the diminished supply in our area.
City Taking Additional Conservation Measures
ASHEVILLE-Based on the most recent information received from Buncombe County Emergency Management, Gary Jackson, city manager has deemed it necessary for city government to implement additional fuel conservation measures.
Effective immediately city government will maintain regular city service hours for most city services but will operate them with only the minimum staffing levels necessary to avoid visible service level disruption. Fire and rescue, police, transit, and sanitation services will continue to operate at full capacity with no interruptions.
All athletic activities and evening programs operated by the city of Asheville will be cancelled. After school programs will continue to operate from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Senior Opportunities sites and Harvest House will operate from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The city manager had previously implemented the first level of an accelerated fuel conservation operational plan that called for deferment of city travel and delay in some maintenance operations. To support additional conservation efforts, employees in non-public safety and transit service areas are now being encouraged to telecommute, use annual leave time, and carpool with other employees where possible.
City fuel storage tanks were replenished late last week with diesel supply; however unleaded fuel is limited in supply. City government is striving to extend the fuel that is already stored for use in public safety and health functions as well as public transportation needs.
“The city realizes that consumers are being impacted by the gas shortage. I encourage citizens to call gas stations ahead of time to see if gas is available, carpool with neighbors when possible, and use public transportation,” said Mayor Terry Bellamy.
City staff will continue to monitor conditions in order to be able to provide the best service possible to citizens.