Get In Line

Deana Trautz, Reporter

Being landlocked, Cedar Park was not hit as hard by hurricane Harvey as coastal Texas cities. Due to flooding, the Motiva oil refinery located in Port Arthur, TX was forced to shut down. Though this refinery was only one of the handful shut down in the area, it is the largest in all of the U.S., according to

Due to this, it was predicted that Texas would be in danger of much slower gas distribution in the thick of recovering from flood damage within the oil facilities. Although there was said to be no actual gas shortage, only a halt in distribution, social media caused what we like to call the “gas crisis.” As the tweets and posts came in reporting a gas shortage, Texans quickly jumped in their car to fill up their tanks with gas. This consequently created a shortage in gas that originally had not existed.

A gas shortage like this one happened in 1973 when threats arose from Arab oil exporters saying trade would stop to other countries, but for our newly licensed Cedar Park drivers, this was something they had never experienced. Junior Amelia Vidrine was one of many affected by the panic for gas.

On Aug. 31, Vidrine’s mother called her on the way home from school suggesting that if she had anything less than a full tank, then she better run to the gas station to fill up while she could. After stopping at home first, Vidrine, suspecting a long line at the gas station, left just before 4:30 p.m. to have enough time to fill up the tank and make it to work by 5:00 p.m. Little did she know, the lines were so brutal that she had to come in a half hour late to work that day after getting gas.

According to Vidrine, it would not have been such a scene if it weren’t for the behavior of fellow citizens waiting for their turn at the pump.

“It surprised me that people were so rude,” Vidrine said. “There was lots of horn honking and yelling in line, when really, everyone was just after the same necessity.”

It was an even more hectic time for junior Himaani Ramesh, who got her license just one week prior and had never gotten gas by herself. She had not seen that her tank was empty until two days after gas had become scarce around the area.

“It was always something my parents took care of before,” Ramesh said.  “So it was weird having to remember to do it on my own.”

She drove around but only found gas with a ridiculously long line, so she decided to check Cypress Creek Rd later that day. One of the 7-11 stations had gas, in addition to a six or seven car wait. Once Ramesh entered the line, her car went into reserve meaning that she had so little gas that it has started using a separate reserve that the car kept in case of emergency.

“I was still a fairly new driver so it was really frightening for me to have to do it in such a hectic time,” Ramesh said. “Most people seemed to be just topping off their tanks, making it harder for people who really needed it.”

Though the gas crisis itself made for a drama, Vidrine says she will not only remember it as that.

“I’ll remember it as a part of the larger Houston issue,” Vidrine said. “The hurricane is something that has affected many people that I love. People lost their homes, their pets and their loved ones this week. I think it is a little foolish that we are panicking over having to sit 30 minutes in line for gas.”