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Just after Hurricane Harvey threatened the refined fuel supply all along the East Coast with rain that damaged or shut down some of the country’s largest refineries, residents in Florida attempted to rapidly collect as much gas as they can find while Hurricane Irma begins to approach the coast.

Cars line up to refuel in Florida
Cars line up to refuel in Florida. Source: Wikimedia

As of September 7, 2017, fuel supplies were running low, meaning drivers endured long lines at gas stations all over the state in preparation for evacuation. Approximately 1,500 gas stations in Florida were facing a shortage in fuel. In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region, 26 percent of gas stations were already without fuel. Tampa and Gainesville also experienced a shortage of gas as people began their evacuation towards north Florida and other inland states.

“Gas stations are cramped with lines that go down for blocks because people are trying to fill both their cars and their portable gas cans for storage,” said Courtney Anderson, a student at University of South Florida.

Although Florida does not receive most oil from pipelines that run out of Houston, their gasoline supply enters the state through coastal ports or tankers, which have experienced delays in delivery from Texas and Louisiana’s refineries because of disruptions from Harvey.

Port Everglades, which accounts for approximately 98 percent of fuel sold in the state, is experiencing severe congestion as trucks drive in and out with barrels of gas. Gas tankers at the port can end up waiting three to four hours for cargo needed to re-fuel gas stations. Yet once these trucks were able to refuel gas stations, the pumps were quick to be empty again.

Florida Governor Rick Scott made a statement asking residents to not consume more gas than needed. Delivery trucks began to be escorted by state police from stations to ports and vice versa to avoid heavy traffic on the highway.

Those still searching for gas are willing to drive longer distances to find a fully functioning gas station. A local resident, Iman Al Fakhri said, “Locals are using an app called GasBuddy to identify or report which stations have fuel, no fuel, or no power.” This app serves as a tool to monitor the availability of gas across a select number of states in the U.S.: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Michigan.


Hurricane Irma Set to Shut Down Major Florida Ports – The Street

Florida Gas Stations Running Out of Fuel as Irma Threatens State – The Wall Street Journal

Gas Shortage Shifts From Texas to Florida – Bloomberg

There’s a Fuel Shortage in Florida as Hurricane Irma’s Path Gets Closer – Fortune

‘Panic buying’ sparks gas shortages in Florida – and it’s likely to get worse – CNN Money

Caught Between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: Florida Gasoline Shortages – Forbes

In Florida, Searching for Gas and Water, and Watching Irma – The New York

Gasoline Availability Tracker – GasBuddy