|MIXTURE OF TRUE AND FALSE INFORMATION|
Origins: In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in late
- An e-mailed rumor claimed that Florida gas stations would be closing and would remain closed for two or three days (due to the interruption of product from Gulf Coast refineries which supply gasoline to much of South Florida), prompting panic buying and long lines at some South Florida stations. However, Florida state officials maintained that although gasoline may temporarily be in short supply in some areas due to production interruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina, the state still had plenty of gasoline, companies were working to get additional supplies from the Northeast and overseas, and no multi-day gas station closures were planned.
- Another e-mailed rumor from the Charleston, South Carolina, area claimed that not only would gas stations be shut down, but schools would also be closing due to a lack of diesel fuel for school buses:
Hey ya'll! I hope that everyone is doing well. Things in Charelston (SC) are good and hectic as usual. I just wanted to let ya'll know that I heard from my uncle today and it is not looking too good with gas right now. Not to freak you out, but you need to keep a full tank of gas in you car no matter what it costs. He is already having to shut down some of his gas stations and he thinks that they may even have to shut schools down as early as next week because there won't be enough deisel to run the school buses. I know that ya'll are probably thinking that I am trying to create mass hysteria and that I am being paranoid, but Frank is a gas distributor for the midlands and owns quite a few gas stations so I feel like this info is coming from a reliable source. Just wanted ya'll to be aware of this. Hope all is well. I love ya'll and hope ya'll have a wonderful day. Sorry to be a "Debbie Downer"!!!This sounds like the typical school closure wish fulfillment fantasy that every child dreams of in the wake of disruptive events, particularly large snowstorms ("Yay, it's a snow day!"). We haven't been able to verify any reports of gas station or school closures in the Charleston area. News accounts indicate that bus transportation has been curtailed due to diesel shortages for schools in the Orlando, Florida, area, but only for extracurricular activities.
- Another rumor maintained that Venezuela was offering discounted gasoline to poor Americans and victims of Hurricane Katrina:
The Venezuelan government is offering oil directly to organised communities, especially poor, at prices that beat those of oil companies. Address yourselves to the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington.It was true that in the aftermath of untowards comments made about him by 700 Club President Pat Robertson, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez offered to make free eye surgery and discounted gasoline available to poor Americans, and he extended his offer to include water and food as well as fuel for the victims of Hurricane Katrina:Last week Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez was attacking the U.S. for comments fromHow many Americans take up President Chavez on his offers (and actually receive the promised goods and services) remains to be seen.
700 ClubPresident, Pat Robertson, about calling for an assassination of
the leader; Tuesday Chavez is offering aid to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
"We place at the disposition of the people of the United States in the event of shortages we have drinking water, food, we can provide fuel," Chavez tells Associated Press.
Chavez says fuel can be sent to the United States through a Citgo refinery that has not been affected by the hurricane. Citgo is owned by Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela. He also offers to send aid workers to the gulf coast.
Chavez made an offer last week for discount gasoline to poor Americans suffering from high oil prices and offered free eye surgery for Americans without access to health care.
Chavez is heavily criticized for his socialist/communist ties in Latin America and has had negative relations with Washington for years.
- Another e-mailed piece spread rumors about gas station shutdowns around South Carolina, similar to the rumor cited above about purported South Florida station closures:
They shut down all Gas pipes today @ 12:00 due to New Orleans-leaks in the pipes. Please keep your vehicle full at all time. All stores got what they got now and will not get anymore until further notice. It will not be how much gas cost but have much we have left.Some gas stations in eastern states did close after Hurricane Katrina due to short supplies, a situation caused by shortages at wholesale terminals in several states (which prompted wholesalers to restrict the amount of fuel retailers could buy) and exacerbated by panic buying by consumers fearful of short supplies and high prices in the immediate future.
How do I know this? My husband works for some convenience stores in Lancaster, SC and his boss man also own a gas company. When he went to order some for his company that is when they told him. I have no clue if it has been on the news yet or not.
Please let everyone know about this. I was told by another source that some of SC stores are out of gas now. BP Station closed their down yesterday.
Similar rumors about gas station shutdowns in the Memphis, Tennessee, area also proved to be unfounded, as did rumors about government-imposed shutdowns or rationing in Georgia.
My brother in law is an engineer for Colonial Pipeline, they move all the gas and fuel oil from the Gulf coast to the Northeast. He said the main pipeline will shut down today at noon and will not reopen until Saturday, he warns of possible gas shortages in the eastern U.S. On the way home you may want to top off your tank.