[From the diaries by susanhu. Keep us posted, Olivia.]

I just got home from work. It was an unbelievable drive home. Over the course of the day, stories of huge gas-hikes-to-come started flooding into the local radio stations. They kept talking about it all day, and guess what? Tonight we are in an all out gas panic.

Apparently it started in Eastern Canada (link), in the face of fears of huge price hikes and possible shortages due to Hurricane Rita. The rumours continued flowing west, through Quebec, and into Ottawa.

The local radio station reported that some of the gas stations ran out of gas, while others had to call in police to handle the traffic.

The lines into stations were massive, going around blocks and down major roads causing traffic nightmares everywhere. I witnessed this myself … I was stuck in it! Lines and lines and lines of cars at almost every gas station I passed (~90% of them). I have to say I have never seen anything like it in my life. It was unreal.

The rumour is that gas will be over $2.00 per litre tomorrow – approximately $6.50 per gallon US, if my math is right … but it’s been a long day … One report came in of a gas station attendant who told his customers that gas would be over $2.50/litre tomorrow. It is currently selling from 0.97/litre to 1.21/litre (Ottawa Gas Prices).

Apparently it is not confined to Ottawa. The whole province is in the grips of a gas panic; Premier McGuinty spoke out this afternoon, reassuring Ontarians that we would not run out of gas! And the bigwigs at the gas companies also spoke out:

(More below fold)

“There are a lot of folks out there who are running to get to a gas station and I would suggest that they shouldn’t panic,” said Steve Ecclestone, general manager of Montreal-based refiner Ultramar, a major gasoline seller in Eastern Canada.

“It’s crazy. It’s just a lot of fear, panic and rumours going on.” (link)

It really scares me that people panic so easily. Similar to lonestar canuck’s diary and the water.

Times like these (in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the onset of Rita, and their effects globally) I can really see how fine the line is between normal day-to-day life and the complete breakdown of society.

Update [2005-9-22 23:43:34 by olivia]: The evening news (CJOH) just reported on the chaos today, showing some video of line-ups. The two people they interviewed said they were filling up b/c they heard gas was going up to 2.00 at midnight tonight. The talking head said that at one station the price increased from 1.09 to 1.72(!) in the space of minutes, and that this “nearly led to fisticuffs at the counter.” Fisticuffs, can you believe it? People nearly coming to blows over gas prices in Ottawa b/c of Hurricane Rita.

How can it jump from 1.09 to 1.72 in the space of minutes? Oh boy. We’re all screwed, being screwed, whatever … just not in the fun kind of way.

The highest I’ve heard is now 180.9 in West Quebec.

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