Texas is facing the brunt of Ike’s fury and things are not looking very good.
Since Texas is the location of a large number of gas refineries and other key energy facilities, the coming storm has created a fair amount of concern far beyond the borders of Texas. For example, when I was heading home from teaching, I saw cars jamming the local gas stations. Cars were backed up into the streets and people seemed a bit worried that the pumps would run dry before their turn.
This situation serves to illustrate the vulnerability of our energy system. Even the possibility that gas prices might increase due to a supply decrease serves to create something of a panic. Somewhat ironically, the fear that supplies might run low drives people to take actions that make the supplies run low, thus serving to reinforce and seemingly justify their fears. One can only imagine what might happen should gas production be severely disrupted.
It should be evident that much needs to be done to address this vulnerability. Exactly what needs to be done remains to be determined.