2:29 P.M. - GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency scrambled to quash a fast-spreading rumor today that Hurricane Rita would trigger a gasoline shortage, but not fast enough to prevent long lines and fears.
At lunchtime, dozens of motorists were reportedly lined up at gasoline stations along U.S. Highway 49 from Hattiesburg to the Gulf Coast. Nina Smith, 33, of Biloxi got a call from a friend who told her -- wrongly -- the pumps would be shut off at noon.
Rumor fuels run on gas stations
By Nell Luter Floydnlfloyd@clarionledger.com
Rumors about a gasoline shortage in advance of Hurricane Rita are untrue, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. William L. Carwile, federal coordinating officer for FEMA, said there is plenty of gasoline in the state, and neither FEMA nor the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency has the authority to commandeer gasoline supplies.
"Those rumors are absolutely untrue," he said. "The retail distribution system for petroleum products is fine."Milinda Evans, an employee at the Shell station on High Street in Jackson, said traffic at the station picked up about noon. A line had formed by 1 p.m. and there was a steady stream of drivers."We have gas," she said. "Our company said there isn't a problem."
Most drivers filled up their tanks, she said, noting the station had done double its normal business between noon and 1 p.m.Drivers also formed lines at the Texaco-Interstate Station across the street from the Shell station. Across town there were lines at the Pilot Travel Center on South Gallatin Street.
Latrichia Thurman of Jackson, a loan processor, stopped to gas up her 2002 Ford Escort after she saw the line at the Shell station on High Street. "I heard everybody was getting gas and that (Jackson mayor) Frank Melton was raising the price $1 a gallon," she said.
Kennedy Thomas of Jackson, who handles billing for anesthesiologists, filled up his 2000 Nissan Xterra at the Shell station."I was planning on getting gas and I went ahead and filled up," he said.
Will Morton of Magee, a third year student at Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, said he went to fill up his Toyota Tacoma pickup after his wife called and told him FEMA planned to take all the gasoline."I drive back and forth from Magee every day," he said. Morton said the wait at the Shell station was only 15 minutes, about 30 minutes less than after Hurricane Katrina.
Please, people, will everybody just please calm down? Geez.
All four stations I passed on the way back to the office after lunch had long lines of stupid selfish weak pathetic people waiting for gas, probably to top off their @#$@#$@ Escalades so they can get their stupid fatasses to the buffet at Corky's or the Wal-Mart whenever they feel like it or something stupid like that.
They should re-deploy the cops who sit in the median of the interstate doing fundraising to each of the stations in town. If you have more than 1/4 of a tank, you get a $500 ticket and have to get out of line. The police department gets half the money for having to waste time policing these sorry sacks of #$#@$, and the other half can be given to people who lost their vehicles in the hurricane.
I hope like heck this is just a really short term thing and people will start behaving responsibly, but after the way these pathetic animals and reprobates acted last time I'm not betting on it.