So, you should know I live in Virginia. There’s obviously been a ton of panic-buying at gasoline stations recently. I think it’s ridiculous because there’s no real fuel shortage. It’s just people panicking, like with the toilet paper last year. Idiots.
Anyway, I have a 30-45 minute commute to work daily. I fill up my tank every week. As an “essential worker”, I’ve been filling up on gas to go to work every week for years, even throughout the pandemic. I was approaching “E” on the fuel gauge yesterday. I tried to fill up on my way home from work but all the gasoline stations were either dry or packed with dozens of cars in lines that stretch into the street and back up traffic.
I figured I’d try to refuel late at night when it was quiet to avoid the lines. At around 11pm I went back out to find fuel but had come to find the situation was even worse. Most gas stations that had gas throughout the day had run dry. This caused all the cars to swarm to the few remaining gas stations that still had fuel for sale. I visited 10 gas stations in town and only 2 were still selling fuel. Even at 11pm, these gas stations had dozens and dozens of cars lining up for fuel.
I said fuck it, I’ll drive to work tomorrow on fumes. Even if I stayed in line, there would be no guarantee the station wouldn’t run dry by the time I got to the front. With the fuel I had in the tank, I’d only have enough to drive to work and back home.
Fast-forward to work, gauge needle pointing past “E.” This is where I let you know that I happen to be a mechanic. I also happen to work in a shop that happens to have certain cars that require fuel tank replacements. I think you see where this is going.
Usually, what happens during these fuel tank jobs is we drop the old tank out the car, pump the gas from that old tank into the new one, then pop the new one back in the car, full of gas. It’s very normal for some gasoline to spill out when we move the tanks around. Especially if it’s full. Often times the car will have less gas in the tank when it leaves than when it arrived. The customers don’t mind when they see the fuel gauge needle lower than when they brought the car in. They understand some fuel gets lost during the tank transfer.
(If you know you’re going to get a fuel pump or fuel tank replaced, please don’t bring your car in right after you’ve just topped off. It makes the fuel tank heavy as fuck, harder to work on, and the fuel sloshes everywhere and makes a mess when we move it around)
Anyway, this car came in to have its fuel tank replaced, completely full of fuel. With the support of my co-workers, we pumped 2 gallons of gasoline into a little red Jerry Can that will eventually end up in my car. The rest stayed with the customer’s car. Those 2 gallons of gas that usually end up on the shop floor will allow me to commute to work tomorrow. Hopefully, over the weekend, the silly panic over gas will die down so I can refuel normally. I felt bad about taking the gas, but it seemed necessary.
If you work from home, or don’t commute daily, or have plenty of gas in your tank already, please stay away from the gas station and save some fuel for the rest of us that need it.