So apparently the Nashville gas crisis freakout isn’t completely unfounded

On Friday when the Nashville gas stations began to run out, word on the street was the panic was started by a rumor, and people reacting to said rumor created a self-fulfilling prophesy. I never heard a rumor that we were going to be out of gas, just co-workers that morning talking about not being able to find gas in the area. Things seemed normal on my way to work that morning as I drove through Murfreesboro, so I just figured maybe it was a Nashville-based rumor.

When we got home that night and people in Murfreesboro were freaking out and buying all the stations out of their gas, I just figured the news of people freaking out over the supposed rumor had made it to the ‘Boro and this was its delayed reaction. Later that night I read on Consumerist about the rumor, and the next day CNN reported it.

Well now, three days later, gas is still scarce in Nashville. Most people I’ve talked to can’t recall hearing a rumor, they just started to notice the gas stations around them didn’t have gas. Most of the stations here in Murfreesboro seem to still have gas (I guess they got shipments in after Friday night’s freakout), but it seems like this could continue to change on a daily basis. Based on what I’ve seen since Friday, morning is a better time to get gas in the ‘Boro.

At work today people were discussing whether there was an actual shortage, and if the talk of a rumor sparking the panic is actually a rumor itself.

Atlanta was running out today, and yesterday when Ian talked to his dad, who was in Charleston, he noted they were running out of gas there, too.

I’m not freaking out yet. I refuse to hoard gas. Not just because it adds to the problem, but because gasoline not in my car’s gashole scares the shit out of me. I don’t want all that combustible shit in the back of my car or at the house just waiting to, well, combust. My car is quite fuel efficient, and I’ve got about a half a tank left. Ian and I drive 400 miles a week (we carpool), but this should last us until Thursday at least, maybe Friday if I’m willing to push it. I doubt I’ll let it run down past the E light until all this is over, and I’ll probably take my computer home with me from work each night this week in case the stations here run out and some yahoo siphons all the gas out of my car in a panic and I’m stranded.

But whether this panic is unfounded or is actually a harbinger of a bigger problem, I’m not too worried about it for the moment. I guess we’ll see if that’s a smart outlook to have in a few days.

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The great gas fiasco of ’08, or, Nashville is insane

Two weeks ago when Ian and I ordered a TV cart and bookshelf from American Signature, we decided to save the $100 delivery fee and pick it up ourselves. Ian’s dad has a truck and graciously told us we could use it to haul the furniture. Even considering the cost to put some gas in the truck, it wouldn’t cost us near $100 so we decided to go for it. Well, also, American Signature won’t deliver to Murfreesboro on the weekend and we didn’t want to have to take time off work to wait around for them. Especially since they only deliver to Murfreesboro once a week, and it’s been a pain in the ass to get them to come out here in the past.

Anyhoo, so Friday rolls around and people start freaking out about gas in Nashville. The Murfreesboro stations we passed on the way in to work were fine, but when we got home Friday night people were lined up at each station. My Civic was almost empty, and knowing we’d have to drive to Mt. Juliet this weekend, I decided to stop at the Exxon by our house and fill up. Not because I was in a panic, mind you. I actually needed some frikkin’ gas. Well, the line was all the way out of the station, so Ian and I hung out at home and periodically checked on the station (we can see it from our upstairs bedroom window) until we saw the lines were down to just one or two at a pump. This was about 10:30. Yes, people were freaking out until after 10:30 last night. Of course, all they had left was premium. Fuckers.

So Saturday morning we drove out to Mt. Juliet to pick up Ian’s dad’s truck, and along the way noticed people were forming crazy long lines around every station we saw. People were filling up gas cans and lawnmowers in addition to their own vehicles. I wondered why they thought they’d need 100 gallons of gas to get them through the weekend, but then realized these are the same people who freak out and buy Kroger out of its milk and bread when it is rumored to maybe think about perhaps snowing a quarter of an inch in two weeks. (I have never understood why people buy two of the most perishable items when they think they are going to be stuck in their house, cut off from civilization, for weeks. Makes no sense. Wouldn’t you buy canned goods?)

Anyway, we got to Ian’s dad’s house, jumped in the truck, and realized that it was almost on empty. No biggie, we thought, we’ve got enough to get to Cool Springs and then back to Murfreesboro, where we can put enough in to get us back to Mt. Juliet (and not leave Ian’s dad in the lurch when he needs to use the truck again).

Well, we made it almost to Cool Springs and the E light came on. Ian called his dad, who said he wasn’t sure how long we could go, but they decided we needed to get gas rather than risk getting stranded on the side of 840 with $700 worth of furniture in an open-bed truck (especially since it had rained a bit on us earlier in the day). So we pulled off the road in Triune to try the Citgo and the Kangaroo. Both had lines going down the road.

We foolishly thought we’d have better luck in Cool Springs, where there are tons more than just two gas stations, so we ventured on.

Boy were we wrong. We passed at least 10 gas stations that didn’t have any gas at all. Finally we found one Mapco that had one pump, but the attendant (who was helping someone fill up) advised the folks in front of us to leave and go down to exit 61 on I-65, as they had lots of gas.

We were starting to worry a little—not worry like “Oh my god we’re not going to have gas for days or weeks!” but worry like “Holy shit we could actually get stranded in fucking Cool Springs and not be able to get home.”

So we headed down to exit 61, where we passed another four gas stations that were totally out. We came to a BP that was part of one of those TA travel stops, and low and behold it had gas. Regular only, $3.79/gallon. Fucking sweet.

Well, it was fucking sweet to find gas, but the line was not sweet at all. When we pulled up, there were about 50 cars in front of us. But it was organized, I’ve got to give them that. An attendant came around to make sure everyone knew which side their gas tank was on, and advised us that a man up at the front of the line would tell us which pump to go to. The guy also asked if we were about to run out (we were), and said that if we happened to while we were waiting in line they would sell us a gas can full enough to get us up to the pump. Luckily we made it, but we waited almost an hour and a half before we got to the pump. We put $50 in. That got us to a little over a half a tank. Enough to make it back to Murfreesboro.

And when we did, of course there was some asshole filling his van all the way up… and then his gas can.

Seriously, isn’t that what makes this worse? Just put the gas in your fucking vehicle and go home. There is no need to hoard gas, people, shit!

We finally made it home with our furniture, but didn’t have the energy to go back to get my car, which is still in Mt. Juliet. We also decided to skip the blogger meet-up at the Flying Saucer, which sucks, but we were emotionally and physically drained from playing Mad Max all day. Also, we weren’t sure how long Middle Tennesseans were going to keep freaking out about gas, and figured we should use the gas it would take to drive the 70 miles or so to and from the Saucer for the work week.

Seriously, who started the rumor about there not being any gas? And if you find him/her, can I punch him/her in the neck?