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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America's bloodiest day

Gas prices quickly jump in some areas

Advertiser Staff and News Services

A gas station in Topeka, Kan., raised prices yesterday to slow demand from panicked motorists but reduced them again hours later. Other operators raised them and kept them high.

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Gasoline wholesalers and retailers quickly raised prices yesterday on fears that supplies would be disrupted following the terrorist attacks, but the nation's largest oil companies — including Tesoro Hawaii — tried to allay those worries by freezing their prices and pledging to keep distribution steady.

Faye Kurren, Tesoro Hawaii president, said that despite the price increases on the Mainland there is no shortage of gasoline, and customers should maintain normal purchasing patterns. 

"However," she said, Tesoro Hawaii is aware of ... concerns regarding supply and price ... To reduce those concerns and alleviate long lines at our stations, Tesoro Hawaii is freezing gasoline prices at all of its company-operated stations at least through the end of this weekend."

On the Mainland, consumers in some areas lined up for an hour or more to fill up on gasoline costing as much as $5 a gallon. Panic caused by rumors of a pending gasoline shortage sent prices skyrocketing in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Michigan and other states.

The R and L Texaco in Oklahoma City increased the price of unleaded gasoline to $5 a gallon after a supplier told the owner it was unclear when the next shipment would be available and at what price. At Sunshine Conoco in Springfield, Mo., gas prices were raised after the attacks by 40 cents a gallon to $1.99.

Greg Seiter, a spokesman at the AAA Hoosier Motor Club in Indiana, said his office has received reports of gasoline prices rising to $3 and $4 a gallon in parts of Indiana. In California, gasoline wholesalers raised prices by as much as 20 cents a gallon on supply fears, although traders said there was no evidence of a shortage.

Exxon Mobil and BP said supplies would not be hampered — except around New York City. The companies tried to reassure consumers that there was no need to stockpile gasoline.

But as distribution terminals closed for security reasons, motorists feared fuel supplies would run out.