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Readers have been chiming in with accounts of the spike in gas prices caused by the current supply crunch. In the Eastern US, from Boston to Atlanta, which gets a sizable portion of its oil from Gulf of Mexico sources, observed increases are in the 15%-30% per-gallon range. Atlanta, however, appears to be in the midst of a wholly different problem. Alex Sladky gives us a personal account of the gas-supply craziness in Atlanta, where gasoline panic caused a run on the pumps this week. It's a big difference in NYC and other Eastern cities, where prices have *merely* spiked, but supply seems relatively strong.

On Wednesday gas went crazy in Atlanta. $6 a gallon was not uncommon by rush hour, with the highest price seen being $9 for premium. The panic started around noon amid rumors of the governor and EPA shutting gas pumps down at 4pm, which was ultimatley untrue. By rush hour lines for gas were well over an hour long, congesting traffic — and required the assistance of law enforcment who were in many instances turning people away. Mind you, this is not an isolated instance this was the case all over the metro Atlanta area. Stations that still have gas, many are out, are charging $3-$4.5.

Just to illustrate a little more, stations had people stationed outside changing the numbers on their signs for pricing by the minute.

The issue was our gas supply was limited because we have four pipelines that pump gas to Atlanta from New Orleans. With no power in New Orleans only one pipeline was operating. — Alex M. Sladky

More regional pricing:
· $3.03 (regular unleaded) in Denver, home of the two-SUV family (Thanks, Josh)
· $3.20 (premium) in Alabama (Thanks, Phillip)
· $3.419 (regular unleaded) in Indianapolis (Thanks, Brian)
· $3.85 (regular unleaded) in Maryland (Thanks, Jeremy)

A quick analysis of the supply crisis, by reader Philip McCarthy:

This is where the domino effect comes in. Chicago is connected to the Gulf by a pipeline, the southern end of which isn't operating, so refineries in Illinois have less gasoline to sell, therefore the price goes up to support their operations. The same can be said of Chattanooga, TN, which supplies Atlanta, though they might be in a more precarious situation. Miami could be in trouble because all their gasoline comes directly from the Gulf. The bright spot in all of this is that there doesn't seem to be much damage to the oil platforms. Granted, Shell's Mars platform is adrift, but something like 95% of all the platforms are ready to go.

The Northeast is in somewhat less of a pickle. While oil supplies to refineries in New Jersey (where else?) have dwindled, we have the port facilities to accommodate large oil tankers, so we could see an ease in gas prices as the Northeast becomes an alternate point of entry. The only question is if Northeastern refineries can supplant the lost capacity of the Gulf.


Gas-Price Hell. What s the Damage? [internal]