Be a patriot. Be unselfish. Be strong. Don’t top off your car’s gas tank because you’ve heard that Hurricane Rita could bring us $5 gas and lines around the block.
Panic and a “I’ve got to get mine” mentality is just going to make the gasoline situation a lot worse. Fill up when you usually do, not before. I wait until my tank is two-thirds to three-fourths empty. Please do the same.
Stifle the urge to horde gas by rushing out to fill up. If everyone does this, a lot of the nation’s gasoline is going to be sloshing around in people’s tanks. Then it won’t be available at the pump. Hence, gas lines and even higher prices.
Let’s learn from what happened after Hurricane Katrina: “Pumps run dry as motorists rush to top off tanks,” reported the Houston Chronicle. Artificial shortages can be created when drivers try to beat their fellow citizens to the pump.
Filling up before you need to is selfish. Maybe Hurricane Rita won’t be as bad as forecasts are saying. But it might be worse. As Americans we’re all in this together, whether we live on the Gulf Coast or elsewhere.
Let’s act all together: calmly, compassionately, humbly. Would you rush into a grocery store to buy the last loaves of bread on the shelf even though you have plenty at home, leaving a hungry person right behind you with nothing to eat?
I hope there won’t be gas shortages and rising prices in the coming weeks. But if there are, I’m determined not to make the problem worse. I’ll fill up when I need to, not before. I hope you’ll do the same.
[Update on 9/22: today the American Petroleum Institute is urging Americans not to top off their tanks to save fuel. I doubt that the American Petroleum Institute and I agree on many things, but this is one of them.]