Local gas station owners ask drivers to cut back

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, September 15, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---We spent the day with one of the largest local gas providers, Koger-Walters. They provide gas for places like BP, and they say it's time to tighten the belt.

"We're out of regular, we're out of silver," said John Butler, president of Koger-Walters Oil Company. "But we do have ultimate."

The story is the same across our area. Hurricane Ike is making a major splash.

"The Houston refineries have shutdown," said John. "Port Arthur refineries have shutdown." The list goes on, and with production at a standstill and little to no oil flowing in some places, local distributors are making a plea.

"Please drive less," said John. "When you go buy gasoline don't top off your tank if you don't have to."

Most stations are facing two options. They can either go up on prices to keep spending down or restrict how much you can buy.

"Unless people come in and buy 5 gallons only when they need it we're gonna have a problem," said John.

John says his stations are down to one tanker load per day. The tanks hold about 9,000 gallons. Usually they would run 4 or 5 different times.

"When you're normally selling 50,000 to 70,000 gallons of gasoline a day and now you're cut back to 9,000 gallons it's gonna take it's toll on your business," said John.

There does not seem to be a quick fix. "We're looking at 2 weeks of really having to pinch it," said John.

John says, "The only way we can solve this problem is to drive less, buy less, and forget the road trips..."

So what takes so long? Once those refineries are back up and running gas travels through the pipeline at about five miles per hour.

Meanwhile, many stations say they plan to close early just to try and conserve for the next day.

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