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Gasoline supply

Updated:
Fears of gasoline shortages are causing refineries to ration their supplies to wholesalers and causing motorists to panic.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says it is a potentially vicious circle.

Panic-buying by customers causes refineries to ration, which has the potential to cause more panic-buying. Motorists are being urged to keep a cool head. Refineries say they are.

As the price creeps up, there are more and more people are hoarding gas, which ultimately makes the supply situation worse. Bad enough in fact, those refineries, including Tulsa's refineries, are rationing supplies to wholesalers.

The News on 6 talked to some wholesalers Thursday, who didn't want to go on camera, but said they simply can't get product or the product has been cut back. And the ripple-effect of course goes to the retailers. They say some smaller gas stations could come up empty as soon as the weekend.

President Bush is urging calm, but it doesn't appear that everyone is listening. "Americans should be prudent in their use of energy during the course of the next few weeks. Don't buy gas if you don't need it."

Tulsa convenience store owner Burley White: "Y'know they say they're filling them up for their lawn mowers, but y'know when somebody comes in with four gas cans, you kind of know what they're doing.”

The EPA meanwhile is temporarily letting up on some of its regulations that require companies to make all sorts of different clean-burning gasoline. Basically, that means they don't have to transport as many kinds of fuel, so hopefully, they can get it to us faster and more efficiently.
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