Panic leads to long gas lines in Nashville — again

Some gas stations in East Tennessee ran low on fuel today, but authorities say it's being caused by people being overly cautious about a recent pipe closure.

A broken fuel line in Alabama has sparked a panic-driven rush to Nashville area gas stations, leading some to run out of gas while others report long lines

Funny thing is, that broken Colonial Pipeline doesn't even regularly supply Tennessee, said Emily Leroy, executive director of the Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association.

It's panic buying causing the long lines and sporadic shortages.

And, Leroy adds, "Panic buying is the worst thing that can happen under any circumstance."

Sound familiar?

ashville experienced the same panic in September 2008 after Hurricane Ike hit Texas. But it was much worse.

Officials estimated then that about 85 percent of Nashville area gas stations ran out of fuel — outages caused almost exclusively by panic buying.

Many Middle Tennesseans had deja vu when they saw lines Friday and today.

Jackie Dawson, 69, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., gasped when she saw five cars deep at the pumps at her local Kroger.

"I was just amazed at how everybody went into panic mode when they shouldn’t have," she said.

"One woman put gasoline in three huge gas tanks as well as her car. It was bizarre. Just like in 2008. Just like the '70s."

In 2008, Dawson remembers sitting in lines that were 12 deep. "And they'd turn away 10 because they ran out of gas."

About 25 miles away, her daughter waited in a 40-car line at CostCo in West Nashville.

"I expected there to be a line, but nothing like what I found," said health care worker Brandie Reeves, 39, of West Nashville.

She too was reminded of 2008.

Leroy and others urged motorists to get gas only when they need it and to avoid filling gas cans "just in case."

The AAA Auto Club issued a statement yesterday saying things should return to normal next week, and any outages are short term.

"This will not persist, and indeed the price increases you'll see do not represent a trend," Tom Kloza of AAA's energy analysis for oil price information said in the statement.


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