On Katrina and the Gasoline Situation

According to the morning’s newspaper the gas station in the shopping center where I work shuttered its doors yesterday–their pumps had run dry. Also yesterday, Governor Mike Easley called upon all North Carolinians to limit their fuel consumption–the hurricane in Louisiana shut down the gas pipeline through the southeast which leaves North Carolina with the gasoline already in the system with no insight as to when more will come. People need to carpool. People need to conserve. People need to limit their non-essential trips.

Already, gasoline prices have topped 3.00 a gallon.

It doesn’t take an idiot to see where this is going.

Economic shock. More income will be diverted into energy needs. Retail businesses will see business slump as consumers either don’t go out or don’t have the money to go out because they’re paying it at the pump for basic travel needs.

If it’s like this in North Carolina, surely other states will feel the pinch. In his statement Easley said that the same gas pipeline that feeds North Carolina feeds eight to ten other states. They, too, will be in the same boat.

If the gas pipeline can be restored with some measure of relief at the gas pump within a week, ten days at most, the economic shock can be minimized. But if it goes longer, if citizens endure several weeks of gas prices approaching four dollars a gallon (or more) we could see the economy slide back into a recession, perhaps a deep one, and the economic policies of the Bush Administration won’t make it a comfortable one.

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