County: At least another week of gas crunch, but don’t panic

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.



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21 thoughts on “County: At least another week of gas crunch, but don’t panic

  1. Sharon Connolly

    Where is the leadership in Asheville? I watched people fill up their car and then fill up 3+ gasoline cans. If people were limited to 10 gallons or $20 dollars, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Unfortunately, we the people won’t regulate ourselves and it’s disappointing that the City Council is doing nothing to ease this chaos other than placing security and police at the stations. It’s frightening to think how leadership will respond to a future, more serious crisis. Leadership anyone?

  2. Leah

    Thank you for your report on the gas situation. I had been disappointed in local officials for not having any public action taken. I am glad to hear from your article that city officials are taking some measures, but aren’t they minimal? Couldn’t they be doing more?

  3. zen

    Last Word as of 6:30pm

    The Enmark on Leicester Highway (Just down from Ingles) regular gas just arrived: It will be at least a half-hour before they can start pumping because of the way the tanks are. There were several cars following the truck into the station that was already lined up. $3.78/gal

    BJ’s on Haywood road does not currently have gas, but the truck is due to arrive at 11 AM. Look to be able to pump by noon. $4.04/gal

    Rumor mill has it that Greens gas on Depot Street, Sylva got gas at 4pm and may already be out for all i know. Rumor was it was at $4.40/gal.

  4. As of 6 PMish…there was no gas in Sylva except for the Enmark Station, but the line was several dozen long when I drove through.

  5. contentpersephone

    The lines were crazy long an hour ago – but the Shell on 240&Merrimon;has gas again – also either Enmark or Citistop on Merrimon (North Asheville) has gas tonight (didn’t earlier today).

    When I managed to get some gas at the Shell yesterday (after a 45minute wait), they were limiting everyone to $30 worth. Probably still are…

    It is making me a little crazy to see people in the lines “topping off” – while others, who *didn’t* act like hoarding jerks, are completely out. I’m not surprised that folks are getting testy.

    I seriously thought my car was going to run completely out while I was waiting in line! (At first, I figured a bunch of us could probably push it up to the pump….but then I got a look at the expressions on the other people waiting in the line. eeks.)

  6. laugh your asheville off

    I made my own gas using a mixture of shampoo, pbr and sparkling water.

  7. Sharon Connolly wrote: “If people were limited to 10 gallons or $20 dollars, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

    If the government had not outlawed setting the correct price for gas we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    Rationing can make sense in certain instances, such as concert ticket sales. But it is a poor substitute for the effectiveness of pricing in a free commodities market.

    The key problem with rationing is that it is arbitrary: Who will use what formula to determine which consumers deserve how much gas for which uses and for how long? No one has this information. These are all functions of a free market that are circumvented by an arbitrary, coercive and ultimately unfair contrivance.

    Rationing takes away the decision-making power of individuals. With freely fluctuating prices, individuals remain free to make economic decisions that best suit their conditions and abilities. Individuals are the better decision-makers in this case, not central planners.

  8. It was slightly apocalyptic and eerie last night driving home –
    There were very few vehicles on the highway, and several cars left along the side of the road with their flashers on acknowledging that they never made it to the next gas station. I saw cars literally abandoned at fuel pumps – waiting for whenever the gas may arrive.

    Based on the research I am doing with the FOA project I can say with full confidence that I think Asheville is ahead of the game when it comes to trends of the new millennium. Much of America is stuck in archaic mindsets – but Asheville’s population is at least conscious enough to know the current issues we face and we are ever fixed to the horizon of the future. But we have a lot of work to do in order to prepare our city and population for the trends ahead, and this most recent regional gas crisis is a most fortunate learning experience.

    I sincerely doubt that this will be the only gasoline crisis that our region or our country will face in the coming decade. And yes, the hassle of this all makes us question how we will get to work, get the kids to practice, or get ourselves to the grocery store – – but it also makes us question how well does our city work when we are forced to live without the blessed burden of gasoline vehicles.

    Many people are being forced to now transport themselves either by foot, bicycle, public transportation, scooter, carpool, or by an alternative fuel vehicle. This current gasoline crisis is giving us a lot of front-line experience so far as how our city does or does not work efficiently in these areas, what are our limitations & challenges, and what can we do to make it easier for our community to make the advancements necessary to help cross over from the former days of gasoline vehicles and reach out to instilling alternative, successful, cleaner, healthier forms of alternative transportation.

  9. jacquie

    I would like to give a THUMBS UP to the Exxon of exit 37 on I-40 for their professionalism and grace last night, even though they were supposed to close at 11pm they stayed open and directed traffic effeiciently and kindly! They stayed open until everyone got gas long after midnight! Unlike the Shell station on Patton which gets a big THUMBS DOWN for their rude attitude to a panicked mother stalled right before the pump! The folks at the SHELL STATION showed their true colors when you slammed the lights off at 10pm on hundreds of people waiting! We even offered to help direct traffic and you still had 1500 gallons left! If this crisis ends we will remember the stations who showed respect for their customers! I will not even stop for a Coke at the Shell again you lost me and many more customers so enjoy all the $$$ your swimming in this week it may not last!

  10. mjp

    another abject failure of our “government” both local and federal….we had plenty of warning this hurricane was coming….there are stockpiles of gas all over this area in huge storage containers…greed and incompetency cont. to rule.

  11. nuvue

    Sorry you guys gotta deal with this. Gas is such a needed and basic commodity. Hope they can bring in some more fuel soon.

    Tim, I’m also sorry to say the free market economy is gone. Congrats, we are now part owners of AIG, and Fannie Mac, how does it feel to emulate the political system of our beloved France?

  12. and yet the highway department still finds gas to run mowers on I40

    good news at 1:44pm…. lots of tankers headed west on 40, someone did something somewhere

  13. Sharon Rose Connolly

    Tim Peck wrote: “Rationing takes away the decision-making power of individuals. With freely fluctuating prices, individuals remain free to make economic decisions that best suit their conditions and abilities. Individuals are the better decision-makers in this case, not central planners.”

    I appreciate your point of view and I still subscribe to leadership in times of crisis. To you it is free market, to me it looks like greed. It’s competition versus cooperation. We should ration “concert tickets,” but not gas in a time of temporary crisis? We make better decisions during a gas crisis than when buying concert tickets. We should watch people get stranded on roadways while others fill an SUV and 3+ gasoline containers? Have we lost our minds along with our spirits? I agree gas should be expensive — it’s not a sustainable resource and again most people will not conserve voluntarily unless it hits their wallet, but here and now if there was leadership by our officials, if there was a temporary limit on the amount of gas purchased and if there was a sense of community cooperation I believe we would be getting through this in a much healthier way.

    The world needs people like you and me Tim — it’s all relative anyway isn’t it.

  14. cwaster

    Well said, JBo.
    I work at home, so it hasn’t affected me directly so much, just indirectly. Thank God.

  15. Alice

    Very good points from JBo. Normally, I wouldn’t be too affected by this because I work from home and live within walking distance of a grocery store, but right now my husband is having a medical emergency which requires us to travel down to the hospital 3-4 times a week. I don’t know what we’ll do if we run out of gas.

  16. FreakingNews

    I want to send a big KUDOS to the guy in the red convertible in front of me at the Tobacco Outlet #2 in Tunnel Rd. I approached this guy timidly already sterotype him as a snob (red covnertible?) Even after pumping (at 5:30 am ) he volunteered and help me block off the 3 ignorant azz*** that were trying and got away! with cutting the line. There were people behind us with a wait of at least 45 mins and in a selfish,defient way these j**ks just cut off. He did prevented others from cutting in.

    Kudos for you Mr Red Convertible! You were today’s hero. (Another guy of Asian origin helped too but I don’t know if he stayed or not)

  17. Kasandra

    Natural disasters are unpredictable and can add to our expenses. That’s why we need to be always be ready in every situation. By the way, Tennessee is the next state on the get-rid-of-payday-loans-bandwagon. Payday loans legislation has been making its way through numerous state legislatures and currently Federal as well, and most popular among them is an outright ban on short term loans, cash advances, or whatever you want to call them. The Tennessee bill is for an interest rate cap, capping interest at 36%, tantamount to a death sentence, and despite numerous studies demonstrating that bans do no one any good at all, lobbyists still try and advocate for the bans anyway. Lenders in Tennessee would likely want some credit repair if the state bans lending payday loans.

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