Design Drama

documenting the delicate dance of design

Running on Empty September 20, 2008

I normally stay on topic around here and keep my conversations on the subject of art and design.

Today will be one of those days where I veer off course.

As I’m sure most of you know, we’re having a bit of an adventure when it comes to getting gasoline in Nashville. Yesterday was the tipping point — estimates are that between 60 – 85% of gas stations are dry currently.

Yesterday afternoon, I see where the story is linked from The Drudge Report. Great. Now we totally look like idiots on the national level.

This morning, I see this story on CNN.

“Everybody has just gone nuts,” said Mike Williams, executive director of the Tennessee Petroleum Council.

He said he has no idea about the origin of a rumor that there was going to be no gas in Nashville. One reporter called him, saying she had heard that Nashville would be without gas within the hour, he said.

Hearing the rumor, drivers rushed to fill their cars and trucks.

“no idea about the origin of a rumor”?????


Because, apparently Mr Williams has had his head under a rock all week as the Tennessean, the NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates here have been adding fuel to the fire (sorry, pardon the pun) all week!

Yesterday, the Tennessean, our local newspaper, even went as far as to put a VIDEO LINK showing the mass hysteria at the Tiger Market on 12th and Broadway!!!!!!!!!  That’s right, inject more fear into the situation.

As I work at home and might put a 1/2 tank of gas into my car every month, I won’t point fingers at the people who need gas to take their kids to school or get to work. That is legitimate need. But to hoard gas to fill up a lawnmower or boat? That’s irresponsible, pure and simple.

On another note:

Yesterday was one of the rare occasions I had to leave the house and meet with a client. The meeting was held about 16 miles from me, in an outlying suburb of Nashville, known for the high income residents that populate the subdivisions around a large mall. As I was leaving the meeting, I pulled up behind a gigantic SUV* — this one came close to the size of a Hummer. The bumper-sticker adhered to the back said “Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less” — now, I got called an environmental snob via Twitter over my comment (hi Matt!) that the owner of this automobile is an idiot. But I maintain that anyone who is driving something that gets less than 10 MPG is an idiot to have the audacity to put that on the back of their car.

I think we should drill here, for the record. But should we drill here so Mr/Mrs Gigantic SUV can suck more fuel through his/her gas guzzler? Absolutely not.


*For the record, I drive an SUV as well. But the difference is, mine gets 27 mpg.


3 Responses to “Running on Empty”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I live 30 miles outside of Nashville, and was confused by Mike Williams comments as well. Perhaps people went “nuts” in part because of what they were hearing and seeing? On Friday September 12th, the day before Ike was predicted to make landfall, there was a WPLN Nashville Public Radio article titled “Ike Launches TN Gas Prices.” This article mentions how quickly gas prices were rising, a statement from Christopher Garrett “This is only a temporary supply interruption,” and also a statement in a memo from Mayor Karl Dean “the city is stockpiling fuel until it can better understand what effect Hurricane Ike will have on supplies.” –

  2. Michael Says:

    I was able to get some gas Friday before the panic began…and not to hoard but because my tank was down to a quarter and that’s when I start looking for gasoline. Thankfully, I got some as the panic was setting in, though I did kind of find the lines and the reaction fascinating.

    I agree that the media had a lot to do with it. It seemed like everywhere I looked and still look, that’s the story. And the coverage Friday made it seem like there was no gas to be had and Charleton Heston was driving around yelling that Solyent Green is people.

  3. missbethd Says:

    The Tennessean website moved it off their lead story for something Titan’s / Vince Young related yesterday afternoon, but today, there’s the gas situation back as the lead story.

    I haven’t put gas in my car in at least three weeks now. And rather than drive to the grocery store yesterday, I walked over there. It was a beautiful day, why waste what little gas I have. But moreover, I’m just not driving on general principle at this point.

    As I got to the grocery, the gas station across the street had about 20 people lined up to pump gas. This was going on even though the prices weren’t even posted on the sign. This was at 4:30 p.m. I walked over after I had gotten my supplies and took a photo with my iPhone.

    From where I sit, the media has everything to do with it. Fear drives ratings. I quit watching one particular local news station because of the sinister spin they put on every story — I just refuse to believe that everything is going to kill me and that everybody is trying to rip me off – and that’s the slant of almost every single news item on that station.

    And when a website puts a live video camera on a gas station to illustrate the situation, it’s not just reporting. It’s injecting fear which leads to panic and irrational behavior.

    Hopefully the worst is over, but I hope this is a lesson to everyone. I’ve certainly learned to keep more gas in my car on a consistent basis. I didn’t get bitten in the rear this time, but next time I might not be so lucky.

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