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Hurry up and wait

Long gas lines stalling traffic, spark old ideas

POSTED: October 12, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Photo/Michele Hester/

While motorists were scrounging for gas to fuel their automobiles at a station on Hwy. 53 East on Friday, above, Robert Tolbert, below, took his horse Stripes out for a leisurely stroll through downtown Dawsonville.

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Robert Tolbert will not let the current gas crisis keep him at home.



Friday, while local motorists were scrounging for gas to fuel their automobiles, Tolbert took his horse Stripes out for a leisurely stroll through downtown Dawsonville.



“She needed to exercise and I need a few things from the store,” said the Dawsonville resident. “I tied her up to a tree while I ate lunch at Dairy Queen.”



At the same time, lines stretched 20-40 deep as motorists waited to fill their tanks in the gas crunch brought on by hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.



Traffic at gas stations in downtown Dawsonville and along Ga. 400 have made for congested roads and the need for law enforcement directing traffic.



While neighboring cities have reported accounts of motorists losing their patience in the search for fuel, few major incidents have been reported in Dawson County.



“We’ve had reports of people trying to cut in line and cars blocking traffic, but other than that, we’ve had no major problems,” said Dawson County Sheriff’s Lt. Tony Wooten. “For the most part, everyone is trying to get along.”



When relief will come remains uncertain.



Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office indicated Friday that some Houston refineries still are without power. Once power is restored, there is a startup operation and a production time that requires days.



Once the oil is refined into gasoline, it takes six days to travel from the Houston area. Perdue’s office said about half of the refineries are “back to normal” while the other half are at varying stages of returning to normal production.



Monday, Perdue asked that President George W. Bush direct the Department of Energy to release a significant amount of crude oil from the strategic petroleum reserve.



“As President Bush and Congress work on a plan to rescue our financial markets, I urge them to also focus on our fuel shortage in the Southeast,” Perdue said in a statement. “As refinery capacity is returning to pre-hurricane levels, I believe a surge in crude from the reserve would bridge the gap until full production resumes and lessen the impact of shortages on the daily lives of our citizens.”



DCN regional staff contributed to this report.



E-mail Michele Hester at


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