EDITORIAL – Temporary gas shortage gives us a glimpse into the future

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE GASOLINE SHORTAGE hasn’t been causing much inconvenience this week because only a few stations are affected but it gets you thinking about the future.

The current shortage is, we’re told, caused by a maintenance shutdown at a Petro-Canada-Suncor refinery in Edmonton that took much longer than it was supposed to.

The company finally announced late Wednesday that the refinery has restarted and the shortage will be over soon. In the meantime, there are still lots of other stations where we can gas up.

But what if this was the real thing — what if we were actually running out of gas. The current situation gives us a slight taste for what that would be like.

When the gasoline supply begins to dwindle — as it inevitably must — more and more stations will begin putting up “We are currently out of gasoline” signs.

Soon there will be ever-growing lineups at the stations that still have fuel. Police will patrol those stations to make sure fights don’t break out.

But people won’t be able to get gas every day or every week, and they’ll start missing work. They won’t be able to get their shopping done, or get to their appointments, or get their prescriptions refilled.

Even police, the fire department and ambulances will drastically reduce their services.

Only those with electric vehicles will be able to get around but if there aren’t enough of them, everyday life will come to a halt and we will start dying off as a species.

It’s a horror-story scenario and if we don’t dramatically ramp up our quest for alternative energy sources it can turn into the real thing. You and I may be gone by then, but our kids and grand-kids won’t be.

In the meantime, why has there been so little information about what caused the current shortage? Up until yesterday we’d been given no specific estimate of how much longer it will last, and no details on why it’s even happening.

Oil companies shouldn’t be allowed to keep us in the dark.

Mel Rothenburger’s Armchair Mayor editorials appear Mondays through Thursdays on CFJC- TV. His Armchair Mayor column is published Saturdays on and CFJC Today. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6626 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Temporary gas shortage gives us a glimpse into the future

  1. Like the major, widespread oil tankers breakdowns that happened in the mid-seventies. It is got little to do with the commodity and much to do with “intrigue and subterfuge”.
    As an aside, have you read the story of Mark Rich?

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