It's been 16 days since Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston, Texas. At first the fuel crisis in Atlanta seemed to be minor: a few stations were out and prices were up, but generally fuel could be found and there were no lines. But as the days progressed fuel supplies dwindled. More and more stores ran out and fewer were being resupplied. There are no official percentages that I can find indicating how many stations have gas, but I know that in my area the percentage did not improve during the week last week. If anything it grew worse. Very few stores have had gas: on my average day I would see one in 7 with gas. Last weekend I was able to get gas without waiting. Last Wednesday I waited behind two other cars (10 minutes only because the SUV in front of me had big tanks) but two days ago (Friday) I waited over 15 minutes in a long line. And Friday afternoon I saw gas lines much worse than the one I experienced that morning.
Demand was up significantly yesterday as nearly 250,000 people drove to or through Atlanta on their way to various college football games. I have not ventured out much this weekend, but I did pass by the 4 stations closest to my house and they were all empty. Personally, we are set until Thursday. All of our cars are full or nearly full and only one has to endure a long commute.
So why did this happen? And why is it so much worse than the few days of shortages after Hurricane Katrina? Here is an article from the AJC that provides some insight: