The Gas Crunch: Tell us your stories

Out of gas? Waited in line for two hours to fill up? Finding other ways to get around? Working from home? The Xpress wants to hear your tales of getting through the gas crunch.

With the gas shortage affecting people from all walks of life and all parts of the area, you’re invited to share your story with us. If you’re a small business owner or employee, how have you been affected? Are you riding the bus or carpooling more? If you’re living outside of Asheville, how is this hitting you?

Tell us any of that or more in the comments below.

—David Forbes, staff writer



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33 thoughts on “The Gas Crunch: Tell us your stories

  1. Asheville Native

    Just using the car for the absolute necessities i.e. taking my daughter to day care. I ride my bike to work, I’m lucky to be able to do that. I’ve avoided having to wait in line so far. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to stretch the tiny amount I have left in the tank.
    Seems like people are driving slower…

  2. theredheart

    The gas cans and syphons are sold out in Madison county. I didn’t go to work today, but heard that there is a station reserving gasoline for pubic servants, so I am going to capitalize on that.
    All in all I found it best to stay home, then to use up the gasoline to find gas.

    I hear it is volitile at the pumps. Mad Max style.

  3. Downtown is much quieter than usual. There are plenty of parking spaces (very strange), and retail businesses and restaurants are close to empty. I’m concerned about our small businesses.

  4. Lance Ball

    I agree with Edgy Mama. Small business is really feeling this. I’ve been getting around on foot, bike and motorcycle. Today running errands, all of the stores were quiet and the parking lots empty.

  5. Rebecca Bowe

    I sold my car just before all of this craziness started, so I was already trying to adjust to driving less when the big crunch hit. This morning, I was on the bus on my way to work (it was crammed full) and we drove past the long lines of cars on Haywood Road waiting for gas. All the passengers on the bus were shaking their heads as they took in the scene. “This is crazy,” one of them remarked, “The government’s got to do something.”

  6. cwaster

    One of my buddies that works as a waiter downtown commented that it has really hurt his wages this week. Not many people eating out according to him.

  7. I think this is a great trial run & learning experience on how to live without large personal gasoline cars & trucks. Those vehicles are on the extinction list for the next decade, and these shortages are going to be coming potentially to larger areas and for longer amounts of time. So we can learn a lot about how our city and ourselves need to adapt to this way of living. What are our challenges and opportunities?
    A lot of people won’t ride the bus until they are forced to – and from what I’ve heard there are a lot of bus riders this week.

    While the local service industry businesses are probably suffering this week, I wonder how places like ProBikes and Libery Bikes are doing?

    As far as my personal experience, I was able to get gas two days ago at the Citi-Stop/Dunkin-Doughnuts on Merrimon Ave. While there these two kids cut in front of people who had been waiting an hour or longer, and one woman started throwing her dozen glazed doughnuts (one at a time) at these kids when they gave her lip and wouldn’t go to the back of the line. It was pretty intense, but definitely funny.

    Thankfully I drive a stick-shift which makes it really easy to conserve gas. Were I not in the middle of moving and staying at two separate locations I would be walking everywhere. I am hoping to visit the Recyclery at the FB Co-Op tomorrow. They host a Ladies Night on Thursday’s & I really need to get a bike. I am pretty ignorant when it comes to bike safety and maintenance, so I am thankful a service like this exists for our community.

  8. davi

    If businesses are hurting from this little *blip* then what will downtown look like after the ‘collapse’ so many of the hippies seem to be waiting for? It would appear our entire economy rests on cheap, readily available gas.

    j-bo… how does the stick shift make it easy to save gas? I mean, more than a fraction of a gallon. Are you coasting down hill?

  9. Cory Sica

    Like Asheville Native, I’ve just been using the car for the absolute necessities like driving to work (I live in Candler, and really wish the buses came out this far…) or the grocery store. I’ve also been combining errands into single trips, something I usually try to do anyway.

    I fueled up just as Ike was approaching Texas and have only fueled up once since. -Definitely glad to have my little Honda. I was in line, for about an hour, and fortunately the atmosphere was pretty calm.

    Curiously, I work at a hotel, and this hasn’t seemed to slow business down for us one bit…


    As a musician, i’ve been traveling out of town frequently, so I’ve been filling up far outside of Asheville, and it has been working out…we’ll see what happens!

  11. John Holmes

    HaHa…lol. What are all the libs gonna do when there is no one left to care for them and teach them how to survive in the real world. lol. “Thank God there are…” to look out for me… How about looking out for yourself and conserving gas and making a difference politically? I bet you don’t even try to work a politcal avenue…Democrat or Republican, get off your LIB @#%. Drill that offshore reserve and Alaska!!!

  12. wncoutdoors

    I waited two and a half hours in a gas line before becoming the *first* car in the line that the gas station had to turn away because I was out. The guy who told us they were out immediately became defensive and acted like he expected to get shot. I wasn’t mad, but some people behind us sure were. Luckily, the line was on a downhill section of Merrimon so I didn’t have to waste a drop of gas idling – just shut ‘er off and coasted whenever the line moved forward a bit.

    But I for one am sick of hearing the “officials” telling us that people “topping off” are creating this problem. They tell us that a truckload of gas that would normally last 3 days is only lasting 3 hours, which must mean people are getting more than normal. Baloney! It means there is more being dispensed than normal at that station during those three hours, because MOST OF THE OTHERS ARE CLOSED! I’m 100% certain that this is a supply, and not a demand, problem.

    This clearly shows that keeping air in your tires and the 2 or 2 mpg fuel economy increases the gubment is demanding from our car companies is completely useless in this battle. We need alternative sources of energy for transportation, period. And fast. “They” should be pumping trillions of dollars into urgent research into the matter. Forget AIG, Osama and bad mortgages. Energy shortages are by far the biggest threat that the US has ever seen.

  13. Sparkdog

    I just got back to town after flying out of (and driving back up from) Greenville. People are definitely slowing down on the Interstate. Gas was short as far south the Kangaroo station with the cheap gas across the border on I-26. I filled up near the Greenville airport (I-85) with no problems. But they were out of premium grades and gas cans.

    What’s happening to travelers who let their tanks dwindle and pull over in Asheville for fuel?

  14. Joshua Rosenberg

    Quick story:

    Many soccer games, including the local ABYSA, were canceled Tuesday, but not the Veritas Christian Academy middle school game I was assigned to work at Fletcher Park. Gas was tight, and school got out around 3:00 – I checked the C-T site and saw that the Hot Spot on Sweeten Creek had gas and waited in line about 45 minutes before needing to leave for the 4:30 game. I knew gas was low, and I probably wouldn’t be able to get home. Freaky! After the game I headed up 25 (Merrimon) toward my home in North Asheville… and stalled. An exceptional lady drove me after the police informed me they could not help, as I was not on the interstate and it was after business hours. We stopped at a closed-for-gas but open for business station on 25, who sold me their last 1-gal can. The clerk then said that I looked like I could use it.. and sold me 1 gallon of gas in the tank – saving me hours in line for a gallon that might or might not get me home (it did).

    Thank you to my guardian angel of sorts!

  15. BusGreg

    John Holmes,
    This proud lilly livered far left of left LIB @#% is running his diesel on veggie oil.
    As for LIB @#%, lets not forget that it was Ronnie Ray-gun, who in Feb 1981, one month after getting into office, deregulated the energy companies and put George H. W. “Shrub” in charge of writing the new policy. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house, and Ray-gun hands this ex oilman the keys to the chicken coop! Big oil has proffited ever since and the little guy gets hosed!
    As far as drilling anywhere is concerned, get real. Off shore drilling will take at least ten years to show results and considering the problems Ike caused in the Gulf, why would any sane person want to stick platforms off our coast, considering we get hurricanes moving up the eastern seaboard. We will never drill orselves out of this problem. Off shore drilling as well as destroying ANWR is nothing more than pandering to spec. interests (big oil) and the usual knee jerk reaction by the right wing special interest lackeys! We need alternatives and government regulation of the energy companies, rather than giving them a free ride and tax credits at taxpayer’s expense. The same applies to the banking system.

  16. dave

    It’s funny that people think drilling offshore would have any effect on this current situation. Unless we Nationalize the company drilling, there is no reason to believe the gas would even end up in the states. Ignorance.

  17. nuvue

    Wow, John H are you ever a pawn to the oil interests. The writing has been and is on the wall. This country is full of innovative and resourceful people, there was electric cars mass produced 15 yrs back, they “disapeared”. There is now killer elec cars…not mass produced cuz ‘merica has had its’ blinders on. Fuel cell cars are common in Japan, Toyota makes a great one, Mercedes makes a great one also. Where is the brains in Detroit? We develop alot of this tech and peddle it overseas, why haven’t Ford and Chrysler been making these cars? Big Oil thats why. WAKE UP FOLKS Demand more fuel efficiency, more alternative vehicles, more mass transit. We can sit by and whine or start to make these things ourselves. For God sakes, we need the jobs. The tech is there, and has been. Why can’t Americans make Fuel cells a priority? It wouldn’t even take $700 billion.
    Yes we need to drill more on our own, but it won’t come online for yrs. and that oil would be better used to make plastics and other materials to fuel our “new industry” of alt. fuel vehicles.

  18. BusGreg

    not only that, but Ford is producing a 5 seat diesel powered car for the european market that gets 65 mpg but won’t be sold in the US. Their excuse…
    Diesel fueled passenger cars are not well accepted by the American consumer!

  19. nuvue

    Thanks Bus, when we were in Greece I saw a Ford Cortina (or something like that) Yes it was small, but diesel powered, fast as can be and got 55 or so mpg. I would love one of those run on biofuel made locally. They regularly screamed by me in my gas rental with $ 11 gal gas (5 yrs ago, don’t know what gas is in greece now)
    By the way John H. This is not a liberal, Repub or Dem thing. It is a human thing and economic survival of this country we love so much.

  20. It is an 80 mile round trip to Asheville to produce *GLoLady TV* every Friday night.

    Since there is no gas or rather who has gas to drive to find out who has gas…

    *GLoLady TV* will be a repeat this week!

  21. ironlion

    At first this won’t sound like I’m on the same subject as the rest, but hang in there with me.
    “When did each individuals economic standing become more important than that same persons health and happiness?”
    As a country we have been heading down a path of total capitalism, now I am not saying that I have a problem with capitalism on principal. But I do have a problem with the way it stands today. When the amount of money in a persons pocket means more to them than the life of the person next to them (stranger or not) there in lies my problem. I like my toys, and I like my computer, but there are so many more important things in life than these.
    I DO NOT want any federal or state or local caps or committees. No I do not want a faceless group of politicians deciding how much each person should be allowed.
    I just put my feelings on the big picture out there hoping that human kind as a whole will wake from hibernation.
    It won’t take billions, or even millions. For example a family of four when I was young fit just fine (soccer, hockey, and football equipment included) into a midsized sedan. No we didn’t have DVDs and the like, but we got to point b from a and even had heat, air, and radio. What a novel idea the kids in the back actually have to sit next to each other. And when did it become necessary to have 8 shower heads to one shower, or 5 bathrooms for a 3 bedroom home?
    If we quit spending our money on unnecessary things, and spent it on things that really matter to anyone living in reality. Problem solved.
    And to all the cynics out there yea, I know not that easy, blah blah blah. You know what, if the American people as a whole woke up and got together, not even “big oil” (or “Big Congress” for JH) could stop us, just imagine if it were the people of the world. (Again “People” of the world not “Governments”)

    Think about it.

  22. docmac

    Thing is everyone has been yelling “GAS SHORTAGE” well I’ve talked with family in Florida, Texas, Maine, VA, and Cali they all have gas. There is no shortage it’s just another way our government is allowing BIG OIL to flex their muscle to let us know they are still in control.
    Over past year or so we’ve shown BIG OIL how we can cut back effecting their bottom line, by driving less and spending less in our economy, and they repay us by not lowering prices bu by raising prices before storms ever hit, and then disrupting the flow of oil to certain regions.

    Our government is worried about how the economy is doing so poorly, attributing it to the housing issues, but this has more now to do with the fuel oil issues.

    Americans continue to speak, show our government that we are no longer going to just sit by for the same old song and dance.

    Funny thing is all Washington is doing is pointing the finger at the housing market for this weak economy, seeing as how our own President has owns an oil company himself and he has a vested interest in his ties to the Saudi royal family, he’d be shooting himself in the foot by speaking out against oil, no wonder they are blaming a weak economy on the housing market.

  23. docmac

    I’m hearing horror stories of miss management of fuel oil, like reserving gas for certain entities and not allowing public to have it (illegal).

    Story on the news yesterday; a young woman couldn’t find gas was about to run out it was late at night she called her husband at home to tell him she was pulling into a gas station and that way she’d be in a safe spot if she broke down, the gas station was closed with bags on all their pumps, and signs telling they were out of fuel. Her husband calls her later in the evening while his wife is trying to catch some sleep at the pump, he tells her try using your credit card at the very least maybe you’ll get a couple gallons and be able to get home, the wife did as her husban suggested removed the bag off the pump put in her card, it verified her information as they do now, then $60 later she was on her way home bewildered as to how she was able to get fuel at a place that said they had no gas.

    After her story came out others came pooring in about stations that stated they were out of gas only so they could raise the prices for the next day and say they had fuel.

    Next we hear from employees at stations that were promised free fuel or told to tell customers they were out of Regular (the cheap stuff) and only sell the High tess (the expensive stuff).

    Once this is all behind us I truly hope a committee is appointed to look into how these private stations and some major gas stations all acted. I mean really why for over a week was everywhere west of Hickory out or running out of fuel????? But places like Winston Salem which is where I was at just 2 days ago had no fuel issues and selling at 3.68, and here we are just 50=60 miles down the road paying anywhere from 40cents to $1.00 more.

    Is it really easier to get gas in Florida, Maine, Ct, and those places than NC? I dont think so, this is exactly the things that fuels those conspiracy theorists and the public losing trust in their government.

  24. bobaloo

    Our government is worried about how the economy is doing so poorly, attributing it to the housing issues, but this has more now to do with the fuel oil issues.

    You really have no idea what you’re talking about. The oil companies, while not exactly saintly, have absolutely nothing to do with banks and mortgage institutions collapsing.
    Don’t let your hatred of them cloud logic.

  25. docmac


    Hatred well I think not, I was referring to local government, with regards to the local economy, but I as well mentioned the state of the US economy which has far surpassed anything to do with the housing market.

    While I will agree with you I have little knowledge when it comes to economy, but I don’t think it takes an economist or marketing expert to realize the state of the US economy has far less to do with the housing failures and rip offs than other issues.

    The majority of US citizens did not get swept up in the housing boom, while alot did most did not, so I ask you do you truly believe that those few who got caught up could have a greater impact on this economy than the nearly 99% of us that were largely unaffected by it.

    The real problem is what? Our lack of trust in this US government, can you trust this President NO! So every idea he pitches to the people is failing only because it’s not here to help the people just the tiny percent that are Billionaires, and Big Oil.

    Americans simply are not spending money any longer, do you think that’s to do with the housing market, NO WAY! It’s due to the rising cost’s at the gas pump which increase the price of everything except for air. So instead of putting money into the economy we are forced to line the pockets of the executives of these gas companies, and oh by the way our President is one of those executives in big oil, I wonder why Americans are responding with such vigor by not dumping their hard earned money in the economy.

    The only way this mess gets repaired is a change in office, but not just a change but the right change.


  26. BusGreg

    Whether housing or gas, the problem is the same.
    DEREGULATION! The problem with deregulation is that it puts that regulation in the hands of businesses, rather than having government oversight. Unfortunately we have been stuck with a government full of special interest lackeys, rather than public servants. IF we had a government that really is concerned about “Us The People” we’d have regulation in place to protect us from oil companie’s greed, who feel the need for 400 million dollar severance packages for their execs, banks who charge outrageous fees for less service (the human kind where you get to talk to someone) and businesses who are allowed to outsource our jobs in order to increase the bottom line.
    As far as gas is concerned.
    During the Carter administration, Jimmy put solar water heaters on the White House only to be torn down by Ronnie Ray-gun. Ronnie after one month in office DEREGULATED the oil companies and put his veep in charge, a former oilman. After Carter’s warnings about energy independence we all but forgot about it. Brazil in the 70’s was hit as bad as we were, and today they are energy independent, even exporting some. (I was a gas station manager in Oregon during the 70’s)
    We need a government WE can trust, not one the oil companies and big business love.
    Now we got one of the Keating-5 Alumni running for president. If selected, where do you think Grandpa Munster and Moose-girl will take us????
    And let’s not forget this: We went into IRAQ for the OIL, not over some perceived threat that Saddam H. has WMD, which turned out to be a lies – as the whole rhetoric to get us into Iraq was. Had the money that is being wasted in the middle east spent here on energy independence and alternatives, we might not be in this mess.

  27. BusGreg

    Already have..
    I’m running my Diesel on Veggi oil, use only solar for electric and wood for heat. As far as politics is concerned, I do anything I can. Being disabled, unfortunately doesn’t give many options due to physical and financial restraints. As far as “will you do your part or just talk about it?” is concerned, I detect a bit of sarcasm, Thanks!

  28. lumina

    i live in the asheville area where there has been no gas and plenty of long lines. i work 40 miles away, where there has been plentiful gas and no lines. during this “crisis,” i never had to wait for even another car (drove right up to the pumps and filled up with no limits) and there were no empty pumps or rations. simply business as usual …

    nor did i SEE any lines or signs at any of the gas stations (some must have been “independent” …?)as i crossed the state line … during the shortage, i had to drive about 300 miles out on business, and even found gas (again, plentiful) at 3.39 a gallon … (last sunday) …

    go figger …

  29. ironlion

    I am currently in the Indianapolis Area and have seen maybe 2 stations run out and in no way recently. The last was probably 2 months ago. Prices are around 3.80-3.90 with a peak of right around 4.00.
    Things are very strange right now around our world, but there are things we can do to change it. It won’t be the easiest, and it won’t happen overnight, but we can accomplish this. I mean if our forefathers could do what they did to create this country. Then we can do this.
    We need to stop waiting for someone to do it for us, and just make it happen. Lets rebuild our own community without adding to the problem. (as much as is possible)
    I do not have a lot of money and neither do my friends and family, but, if we put that money together the numbers increase dramatically. The more businesses that open in the mist of this that are ecologically driven, the more power we give our point. The less they will be able to ignore us. And for “Big Oil”, it will be as though we had hung a sign on our door that reads…”No thank you, and please do not come again.”

  30. contentpersephone

    I was starting to think that our problem was pretty much entirely regional/local…but then, this past weekend…I drove out to Winston/Salem-Greensboro…and had a pretty hard time fueling up there too.

    Before I left Asheville, I’d spent easily a couple of hours in lines waiting to get what I could…I figured as long as I got enough to get out to Stateseville or thereabouts, I should be fine.

    But then I got out there…and then some…and there wasn’t any gas to be found there either.

    Finally, I did find some in Winston/Salem (only regular – and certainly no gas cans to be found) and started asking around.

    Fuel still seems very short as far south as Atlanta – completely out in Charlotte – running pretty slim as far North as Raleigh.

    The news networks keep saying that the worst of this “crisis” is over….but it sure doesn’t seem that way from where I’m sitting.

    What gives?

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