Monday, September 22, 2008

Gas shortage in Nashville?

CNN can chalk it up to a rumor-induced panic, but timing and availability have been real problems for real families.

Most of us were already low from the post-hurricane events of last week. If you waited until payday to fill up, tough--mile long lines, cars stranded on the roadside.

With twice-weekly doctor visits, my own car was down to 1/4 tank. By the grace of God, I filled up just a day before the shortage. Otherwise, it would have been a long and worried weekend for this pregnant lady!

Last year I felt like a stranger walking to the grocery and library. This weekend, I saw more pedestrians than ever before. How many of us realized we didn't really need to go and do?

Even if it were an artificial construct, I'll never forget how vulnerable this shortage made us feel.

33 comments:

Edi said...

Where we live I haven't noticed any gas shortage problems (thankfully!) - but ever since I began riding my bike I have realized that a car is less and less needful. We jury-rigged a large, lidded basket that can be attached to the back of the bike...large enough for a bunch of books from the library or a quick trip to the grocery store. Trip to the library via bike less than 10 min...maybe save 3 min by driving. Walking to the grocery store and pulling a grocery cart type thingy with 2 kids tagging along - about 20 minutes...driving about 7 minutes.

I'm seeing more and more that we could get by with one car...but the car is so much more convenient...kids can always come along, can make multiple stops in one trip (cannot do easily with bike or feet) etc. But all in all good to know - there are alternatives to being a 2 car family and less cars means more physical exercise, which is good.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Meredith-
Wow...this was a sobering post! We are kind of "news junkies" in our family, but we did not hear about this over the weekend. And, yes, I think it is scary, too. I hate it when things like this, that are bigger than us and that we have no control over, happen in our country. For me, I always feel like daily life is stressful enough without adding in the drama of things like wildly rising prices, stock market near crashes, and gas shortages and price escalation due to weather events and geo-political events. It makes me want to run out and fill up every single car this morning and not go anywhere this week! I hope you'll do another post to let us know how this is resolving in your area. It's very interesting. Hope you continue to be able to get the gas that you need!!
Susan

Shannon M said...

We didn't have a shortage, but gas was $5 a gallon right around the storm. You're right it absolutely makes us re-evaluate how often we have to run and do. I wish we lived within walking distance of any kind of store but our neighborhood is way out of town I hope we'll begin to see communities and neighborhoods planned with fuel economy in mind. Driving 20 miles to the Super Walmart is just not the best way to live!

Anonymous said...

Doctor visits twice a week. Wow. You are in my prayers for a safe delivery. Take care. Roxie

ancient one said...

Hi... things seem to be getting better in our neck of the woods. Pleny of gas this weekend and price at $3.67. I can imagine how you feel with a baby due really soon. I hope the gas thing will soon get back to normal.
~ann

Karen said...

Why vulnerable? I had a different reaction: empowered. (Of course, I'm not heavily pregnant! :) )With my own two feet and sometimes a bike, I found that I could accomplish many things. I discovered stores in my neighborhood to meet my needs, and I felt creative making do with what was in my pantry, my closets, and my basement workshop. It was an eye-opening experience. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, but I'm sure you already knew that!

Jennifer said...

I just heard about this! That is shocking in this day and age, but it just shows that you have to be prepared. I was taught that you should never let your car fall below 1/4 of a tank. But I don't always follow that. Something we do try to do always is have our 5 gallon gas can filled here at home. When we use it to put gas in one of the cars, then the next time we fill up, it goes with us, so we are rarely without at least that back up. Here in Ohio we have learned a lot about being prepared too, Ike hit us as well.

Kylie's Mom said...

I'm super north of you (Alberta, Canada) and some of our stations were completely out of gas last week. It's scary...but it does sort of give us a kick in the pants so that we remember to walk more!

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD!

Latrice (Working mama in NW)...

Anonymous said...

I hope the rest of your pregnacy goes smoothly, even if your on foot. I miss your daily message but totaly understand the delay, good luck.

Mrs.RGS said...

Meredith, I had a 2 year old and an infant in the early 1970's gasoline shortage. While sitting in line for the pump and afraid I'd run out before I got there I was nearly hestarical. People were not kind, they would push someone out of line if they ran out before they got to the pump. I didn't want that to happen to me with the kids in the car.
Your post reminded me of those nervous days when you would fill up just because you found a station that had gas right then.
I've been seeing many more people walking and biking than before. It's good for us (who aren't pregnant and have small children to care for).
Rita

Southerner said...

I made sure to top everyone in our family off when the scare hit after the hurricane. We are in the Huntsville area. I am walking to our orthodontist today for the first time. Okay, it is about a mile round trip. Laugh at me, we usually get in my Yukon XL. Now you know why I am fat.

Mary T said...

Same thing here in Charlotte. Also I am told some gas stations have covered up pumps except the premium--but if you try the pump--they DO have gas, just want you to buy the premium! Just before our shortage hit I filled up before work and got home and it had gone up 80cents! Wow.

Kelly said...

I saw your gas shortage on the news . We had a shortage in Houston because of the Hurricane and electricity outages . We try to keep our gas tanks full and never below half a tank . I drive less than I use to . I also try to combine errands when I am out .
The Hurricane was not as frightening as seeing so many people , so vulnerable to any change in circumstances !
I think it was a wake up call for all of us to be more prepared .

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I have something for you over at my blog, Free 2 Be Frugal!

:)

Taleyna said...

Hang in there...it has sounded from your posts like we've had similar end of pregnancy experiences (mine was 5 YO though) and there would be no way I could have walked any distance at all let alone done it with DD in tow. I would start each day with a list of accomplishments-like today I will manage to load the dishwasher or today I will play a game with DD. Everything was kind of in a fog. But, I got so much better when it was over.

Anonymous said...

Any news as to when your little guy might be arriving? I'm sure all those drawers are filled with sweet-smelling clothes that you are anxious to put him in. We can't wait to meet him. Good luck on a safe delivery and healthy son!

Deb Burton said...

We live in rural Illinois and haven't had to deal with lines, but I count our blessings that we live in-town and can walk to so many places. I've also gotten very creative and frugal about going out of town to do any shopping, choosing instead to support local merchants, even tho' they may be more expensive.

The other habit I've had to break is to never let my tank get below 1/2. Driving on fumes is a thing of the past now - too many risks!

Ewokgirl said...

Glad to see you back!

I'm so glad you were able to fill up without a problem. Being so pregnant and having small children at home is not a good situation to be in without a full tank of gas. But what an interesting observation about people walking! I've thought about walking to the grocery store here with my wagon. Haven't done it yet, but I've thought about it.

This may sound odd, but a (temporary) gas shortage is a good thing in a way. It will hopefully make our wasteful nation sit up and realize that our resources are not a given. Maybe more people will start conserving now. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Seems like a lot of people who left comments are either stay-at-home moms or live in a small enough town that they CAN walk to the store. I'm a Nashvillian, too, and I'm feeling the pangs of worry over my "on E" car situation. I work downtown, about 5 miles from where I live, and I have almost no options...When people have snatched up all the gas (by being overly "prepared"), there's nowhere for me to go. I just need five measly gallons to make it through this work week. If people would STOP "topping off" their mostly-full tanks and STOP "being prepared", there would be enough for EVERYONE! Frustrates me so. People have to stop thinking of themselves (as if we're facing the Apocalypse or something) and start remembering that others need gas, too, and that it will NOT run out if we all share. There, that's my two cents.

-Katy

Christi said...

We've had a bit of gas shortage here as well, and while we've pretty much commited to staying at home, it frustrates me that IF something happened (an emergency; it takes longer for an ambulance to get to you here than to drive yourself) I might not have enough gas to handle that - if I have enough to get to the station, they might not have it.

While I agree with Katy, that we need to be thinking of others - my main concern is gasoline/oil companies that continue to make PROFIT... PROFIT!!!! - while people are losing their jobs (and therefore other things) simply because they cannot afford the gas to get to work.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

Katy, I agree that the time to be prepared is before a shortage situation--not now, when it's acute and others are more in need than we are.

I feel so lucky that we are in a neighborhood with a walkable grocery store and library, so apart from doctor visits, I don't have to drive anywhere during the week.

That was an accidental luxury I didn't consider when we bought this house, but one I will always look for in future houses.

Sandy said...

Hi Meredith - I stay home WAY MORE than I used to. Really trying to be smart, plan and do what I can!

the pleasures of homemaking said...

We're having a real gas shortage here in the Atlanta area! Fortunately I never let my gas run below half so I'll be fine for the week. I could walk to things but it would be a trek. Unfortunately my husband travels for work so he has to drive every day.

Manuela

AK said...

Living on the west coast, we haven't been affected by the Gulf Chaos, thank god. Our gas prices have actually DROPPED over the last week. The lowest I've found around I live in the southern section of the San Fran Bay Area is $3.69!!! I haven't seen that price in AGES!

Elise said...

All of our gas stations around here are out and I am on E. Kroger had it last night when I first drove by it, then were out less than 2 hours later. Fortunately, I don't have anywhere to be. However, Tuesday we are closing on our new home, so hopefully gas will be available by then.
Elise

A.D. said...

Atlanta too! We haven't had gas since the day of Ike. We can't understand what's going on. I tell about it on my blog: http://the-snooze.blogspot.com/2008/09/no-gas-atlanta.html

Rachel said...

Well, there's not a shortage here in OK (yet), but we *are* topping off, and filling our gas cans. We are fortunate in that we have some land and a comfortable home, but there's a tradeoff--a 20 min/15 mile drive for DH to go to work...He runs any errands he can. I try to limit my trips, though, and get things taken care of in one trip (something my 1970s gas shortage surviving mama taught me a loooong time ago--I was born in 74 and don't remember it at all)...

We have one car, and its as fuel efficient as we can get and still haul the 5 dc (a 2003 Odyssey). No, its not the apocalypse, but oil isn't going to last forever, and I suspect we will see more shortages as the months progress, not less. The need to re-distribute fuel to places like Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, etc, where gas is non-existent now, practically, just to get the supply trucks in, well, its going to have to come from *somewhere*....its going to ripple outwards. Not trying to be alarmist here folks, but its not looking pretty and I am not willing to sit back and wait with the mindset that "I shouldn't make sure we have enough to fill OUR needs, so that someone else can fill theirs"...no, sorry. We go thru a tank plus in gas each week, with just DH driving to work and home (cause of errands, church, etc). I'm not driving a tanker truck up and filling it up, but I am not going to rely on the government, oil industry, or anyone else on this planet to take care of me and mine. That's just foolishness. It'd be one thing if we lived in downtown, with shops and the church and DHs work all within walking distance. But that's not reality for MOST people. No way am I going to be able to walk the five miles into town, and then back, with five small children, and a cart, on a busy state highway. For groceries.

So DH does as much as he can at a time, and then comes home. And we stock up on everything whenever we can, and get enough to put a little away.

Rachel

Anonymous said...

Charlotte has had quite a week--I visited 14 gas stations and sat in two gas lines before I was able to fill up. I waited until I had a quarter tank, but was close to E by the time I finally found a station with gas and waited an hour and a half to fill up. We are blessed in having a grocery store, movie theater, and library within walking and biking distance of our home, so I haven't had to use the car this weekend. I do need gas to get my kids to school as they attend schools 15 and 40 minutes away from our home this year. I will have to rethink this if gas prices stay so high--our local elementary, middle, and high schools are all within walking distance of our neighborhood and my husband has started to catch the bus to work just 2 miles from our home. We could easily become a one vehicle family with a few adjustments in our way of life. Watching the mortgage bail-out mess has got me thinking of ways to simplify and reduce our family's expenses. Miss Kris

Tish said...

I'm a librarian, and I just want to welcome anyone who is pinching their pennies to drop by their local public library! Perhaps in the past you resented the taxes you paid to your local library, but by the time you check out maybe 5-10 library books, you've earned back the money you paid in taxes. Libraries are the last bastion of democracy and equality, I believe. Not only that, we truly want to help people. We want to show you all the books we have on starting a small business, or cooking/freezing a month's supply of meals for your family, or the exciting bestseller that entertains you more than your $65 cable bill does. Do something positive for your family and visit your local public library! We're there for you! :-)

Tracey said...

You've been tagged for 6 random things about yourself. Come by my blog to see...have a great day!

Elizabeth G. said...

God bless you! I am praying that you will always have the gas that you absolutely need.

When are you due?
Elizabeth

Gloria said...

We walked everywhere when we were serving a mission in Brazil. They have an extension bus and metro system as well, which we would use on occasion. It made me realize how spoiled we all are.

This is hopefully a temporary thing that will pass. I think more of us will have to simplify. My prayers are with you that you will be able to make it to your doctor visits without a problem.

Warm Regards!