According to the DOE, existing stocks of gasoline are already below the normal range for this time of year. See the following graph: … Drawing down gasoline stocks too far carries the risk of prolonging the period of record gas prices. Importing refined products reduces the supply elsewhere, especially in Europe. According to the Daily Record, UK’s Gordon Brown warned yesterday that ‘Hurricane Katrina could sweep Europe into recession’.
[. . .] Where does this leave the US? It is critical that the four ‘out of commission’ refineries return to operation as soon as possible. But even more important, the US needs to reduce demand for gasoline consistently, by 5% or more, until the refineries are back in operation. Perhaps the record high prices will suffice, but I believe this is a situation that calls for leadership – something sorely lacking in the US – and a call for conservation on the part of all Americans for the next few weeks or months (and why not years?).
Go to the original for graphs and links.
The leadership vacuum didn’t stop at FEMA, and the resuting damage gets worse.