Every once in a while I go looking for an item that I think should be easy to find but ends up not being easy to find because of problems in either timing or the supply chain. Most of the time, though, these items are not of the highest seriousness. For example, it is tasty to eat kao soy, but by no means essential, and the same is true of alfalfa sprouts. When medicine or fuel are in short supply, though, it is a considerably less pleasant matter, and it is that I would like to discuss.
Last night (Thursday night) as I went to dinner I stopped in at a local 76 station and found that it had no gasoline available and no one to pump it or to explain that the station had run out of fuel, leading to some awkwardness. Then, when I was driving back from dinner looking to stop at a Shell station nearby, that station had police tape wrapped around the whole station, apparently to convey to nearby drivers that this was not the place to stop for fuel.
This had me obviously concerned, that two local stations, and the two most convenient ones, were both out of gasoline. A search for logistics problems relating to fuel supply did not indicate that there were any specific concerns at this time with the supply of gasoline in Oregon, but it was certainly a bad coincidence at the very least that a region would be affected so strongly by a fuel shortage. I resolved to get gasoline at a different location that had more convenient highway access on Friday afternoon and when I did so I found that the person at that gas station was not aware of any reasons why there should be a specific shortage in the area, and when I investigated the stations in the area while having an enjoyable afternoon drive I found that they were open and active again.
Is this something that other people have noticed, that certain stations are without gasoline at certain times based on the timing of the deliveries from trucks? Given the general instability of the supply chain for many products, is it wise for gasoline companies to rely on just-in-time deliveries of fuel? To be sure, some of us live in areas where there are many competitors for business, but in some areas a station or two being out of gas at critical moments would be a very terrible problem for the people in that area. The fact that one would even need to go on a quest for gasoline is concerning at the very least.