Anyhoo, the reason why I'm asking the above question is because I've been sort of noticing a weird trend.
Now, I've done a not-so-thorough search on this and I haven't found anything recent that's also U.S.-centric, so I thought I'd take a very unscientific poll.
This sort of came to my attention on Saturday. I was with the 'rents and we were driving somewhere. We passed by a neighborhood gas station that had been in existence since long before I was born.
It was closed.
Not for the day. Nope. It shut its doors and cleaned out the garage and was gone, gone, gone.
My dad mentioned that just days before he went to get gas at another neighborhood gas station and in the middle of filling his tank, the pumps shut off. The gas station was completely out of gas.
Hunh,, thinks I. That's just weird.
Now, on Monday, I was running an errand on my way home and noticed that a gas station not far from me had a big sign up noting that they were out of 87 Octane gas.
I put it down to the fact that this gas staton usually has gas that's a penny or two below the local market rate and didn't think too much about it.
Today, I had to get gas for my Saturn ($30.60 to fill my tank! Yi-yi-yi. Never thought I'd see the day...) since the little gas pump on my dashboard had been glowing a menacing orange for the past two days.
I pull into one gas station, a full-serve one, as it so happens. I don't usually go myself since it tends to be a penny or two higher than the other gas stations, but I was getting nervous about running on fumes. Usually, this joint has cars out to the street (probably because it's full serve more than anything else) with a handful of MBTA transport vans and cars mixed in.
Today the joint had no one and nothing.
Weird, thinks I. But there's no sign indicating that they're closed or out of gas, so I don't think too much about it.
I pull up to the pump and see the guy inside. Now, I'm not a regular customer. I've only been there a couple of times because I usually pump my own gas at a self-serve. However, I recognize him. He's looking right at me. So, I wait, and wait, and wait.
Guy doesn't move. Now he's pretending not to see me.
Instead of marching over to the window and knocking on it with a, "Hey! What's your problem!" I just think, Fuck this shit. I'll give my money to someone who wants it.
Off I go to a self-serve gas station that's usually cheaper than this place anyway. I pull in and find out that the only gas available is 87 Octane. They're out of the higher octane fuels.
Well, lucky me, I've got a Saturn. Ever try to put anything other than cheap gas in a Saturn? It not only belches and bucks, it burns through the gas like it's water. Since my particular Saturn rates somewhere between a 7 and a 8 on the EPA environmental scale (the only way to get higher is to buy a hybrid car...which I can't afford), and gets roughly 38 miles to the gallon, I feel no guilt about putting cheap gas in my car.
So, when I pay, I wander over to the cashier and ask, "What the hell?"
He mentions that they keep selling out, not because there's a run on gas (although there's been mini-runs on gas as the price per gallon keeps climbing, but nothing like it was in the 1970s), but because deliveries have been "slow."
Bwah? thinks I.
Then I think about the past week. Granted, not a lot of evidence here. Mostly isolated incidents. What has made them stand out is that they're just unusual. I didn't even see anything like this when there was a run on the gas pumps just before and during Katrina.
So, I've come up with a little poll. Please fill it out and comment. I'm curious if anyone else has seen isolated incidents that are equally strange in their area of the U.S.
What is the average price per gallon of gas in your area?
What region from the U.S. are you from? (See this map for regions)
What sort of weird things have you seen with gas stations?