Gov. Mike Easley of North Carolina has warned that his state and eight to ten others served by gasoline pipelines from New Orleans are in immediate danger of running out of gasoline. It has been rumored in North Carolina that the governor had ordered gas stations to shut down for periods of time. The governor's press office denied the rumors, but some gas stations in the state have closed due to lack of gasoline supplies.
Easley has requested that barges loaded with gas for the Northeast that is in excess of their immediate needs be diverted to his area. He complains that he has asked the Department of Energy for advice and assistance but has received no reply. Gov. Easley said, "The two major pipelines that furnish gasoline to many states, including North Carolina, have been affected by Hurricane Katrina and are currently without electricity. They service North Carolina and 8-10 other states. 90% of our gas comes from these pipelines and right now they are not operational. Suppliers generally have a week or so of supply. They have been shut down since the hurricane. The pipelines need electric supply and the refineries that produce gasoline need to make urgent repairs also are without electricity. The refineries that produce gasoline need to make urgent repairs. Consequently, we do not know the extent of the problem, but we do know that there will be a significant loss of gasoline in the Southeast, at least in the short term, until the electricity is restored.
"This is not only a state problem, this is also a regional and a national problem. We are hoping that the Department of Energy will take some action as soon as possible. I have tried to get direction from DOE, but they have not yet responded. In the meantime, I am asking all North Carolinians to conserve gas. Some stations are already out. Wait for more information before making Labor Day travel plans. We are taking steps to ensure that emergency vehicles have the supplies that they need, police, fire and rescue. I am immediately suspending all non-essential state government travel. I am asking state employees to carpool wherever possible.
"I am also asking all our citizens to be smart about their fuel consumption. I am asking them to carpool if they can and to limit non-essential road trips. We are not out of gas, but we are running low. We must take steps to conserve our resources while we learn the full extent of the problems and while Washington works toward a regional and national strategy. With careful use of precious fuel, consumers can help us weather this latest storm. North Carolina understands hurricanes. We have been through them and we know that we will weather this one as we have in the past. We know they cause disruption. We just need to know as much as we can and plan."
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Unknowncountry.com readers are asking us how they can help. Don't drive unless you have to. Don't go to the store alone if you can help it; call neighbors and carpool. If you must drive and have an SUV and a smaller car, drive the smaller one. Find a good place to donate money. And please support us too, so we'll be here for you tomorrow.
Tune into our upcoming Dreamland show (available on our website on September 9) to hear James Howard Kunstler talk about how we may be out of gas for a very long time. Anne interviews him just for subscribers.
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