7/10/2005 09:55:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
My wife and I stopped at a gas station off of Rte 81 in Pennsylvania on the way home from a weekend trip. Gas was at a low price of $2.19 there. ($2.41 in my hometown) There was an unbelievable line of cars waiting to get to the pumps and a chaotic scene once we got to pump area. There was no order to the line, b/c of a tight turning radius, and several large SUV's and V8 trucks positioning themselves. People we're getting frustrated quickly, and we could feel a sense of unease quickly come over us. We got our gas and got out unscathed, but the line had grown considerably by the time we left.

I was a twinkle in my father's eye during the oil shortage in the early 70's, so I have no history with the long lines that formed during the shortage. I have to believe though, with the "road rage" that is rampant now, there would quickly become a phrase "gas station rage" that would enter the country's vocabulary.

It was easy to see how tempers were rising today - even with ample gasoline available at a "cheap price". I can't imagine a scene with even more stressed out people paying $5+/gallon, with limited supply.

I think that I have been a peak oil optimist, preferring to live in a sort of denial, thinking utopian thoughts about a future without oil - surviving on our "skills", and our preparation, adapting to a new way of life. The glimpse of the future that I got today was ugly, with nothing utopian about it.
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On 10:29 PM , Liz Logan said...

Wow, that is scary! I remember the long lines, but not with a sense of threat. When I start hearing about "gas rage" I'll remember I heard it hear first! :)

On 10:47 AM , J said...

I was in those lines, and in Houston it wasn't pretty. I remember people getting irritated last week over having to pay first then pump when paying cash, to the point of screaming and threatening attendants. The convenience store attendants have been "pump and drive'ed" to death recently, and management takes this from THEIR EMPLOYEE paychecks.

In the last crunch, we went to locking gas caps because people were stealing gas by siphoning it from your tank (in the driveway) with a length of garden hose. I think this will begin again wholesale, and shortly. It has already happened to some city vehicles, and they switched to locking gas caps here about 6 weeks ago.

What worries me, as I live in Houston, is the combo of a nasty hurricane knocking out power (no gas, no a/c, no lights) for days. In Texas, people carry guns, and road rage can get you shot. I personally think this has helped keep people civil to a certain extent. But in a power blackout, people seem to revert to much less civilized behaviors.

Gas is still cheap as things stand today. But as inflation creeps further into our economy, we have less wiggle room. And right now, inflation is sitting near 10% if you put the stuff back in that the government adjusts out (like energy costs).

As things get tighter, people will get more aggravated and feel much more trapped by their circunstances. Desperate people will unfailingly resort to desperate actions, and this will make things bad in many places.

I think you got a very small taste of what we felt back in the 70's, when the economy was deep in the tank, we had no money, and had trouble paying for the gas to get to work...

On 3:36 PM , odograph said...

I live in California, where we have long been "pay first."

It is kind of funny for me to get out in the country. I walk into the gas station or convenience story and say "I'd like to fill up on #3" ... they look at me funny for a while, and then say "go ahead." LOL.

On 3:39 PM , odograph said...

FWIW, I had just started to drive in the late 70's gas crunch. In our California suburb the lines weren't dangerous ... just boring.

On 10:32 PM , Kate West said...

I was a kid during that time and remember sitting in those gas lines with my parents. I don't remember seeing any bad behavior but I do remember hearing about it. It's funny--my dh and I were just talking about possible scenarios should we have a sudden drop in oil availability and neither of us think it will be pretty. I'm not looking forward to how the declining oil supply and rising prices will affect people.

On 10:46 PM , Anonymous said...

Liz Logan and everyone else who may be reading this:

I am a teenager from Exeter, New Hampshire. I am a concerned youth trying to make a difference in my community. Since the Hurricane Katrina hit the the Southern portion of the United States,the gas prices have skyrocketed. I am orginizing a "No Gas Day" September the 11th, 2005, in my community. We as a community and commonwealth of people in the United States need to stand up against this and try to make a diiference. I know realisticly this will not lower gas prices dramaticly but it needs to be known that the citizens of this country care. So please help support the cause do not buy gas on September 11, and donate your gas money to those who need it more in New Orleans and other parts of Lousiana. When tradegdy happens some will crumble and fall, we will rebuild and bounce back.