Work begins to refuel Florida gas stations
As the remnants of Hurricane Irma move out of Florida, work is underway to resupply the state with gasoline, AAA officials said Tuesday.
“Hurricane Irma caused a huge spike in gasoline demand as residents evacuated, topped of their tanks, and/or filled gas cans to power generators,” AAA said in a release. “This led to outages at various gas stations throughout Florida and neighboring states, and it could take a week for supply conditions to return to normal.”
According to the release, suppliers face an uphill battle in the coming days, trying to keep gas stations supplied, as Florida evacuees return home in large numbers after the storm. Gas stations not located along major highways should have an easier time keeping supplies, as residents are no longer “panic pumping”, since the storm is no longer a threat. Refueling gas stations along major evacuation routes will be a top priority, as it was before the storm. Motorists are still likely to find long lines, which could lead to temporary outages, due to the surge in demand.
“Florida evacuees should plan their return home very carefully,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group, in a prepared statement. “First, ensure you know there are no major hazards at home or along your travel route. Expect congestion on the roadways, as the first few days after the storm will be the busiest. Pay close attention to traffic reports. Ensure you have a full tank of gas before you hit the road. Do not let your fuel gauge fall below a quarter tank before you start looking for a place to refuel. Bring a gas can in case you run out of fuel. It is not safe to drive with a full gas can inside an enclosed vehicle.”
Supplying the State
Florida does not have any crude oil refineries and relies on petroleum products delivered by tanker and barge to Florida marine terminals, primarily at the ports of Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Port Canaveral, Port Manatee, and Port Everglades. Most of these ports have been shut since Saturday as a safety precaution. These ports can not reopen without passing inspection from the U.S. Coast Guard on all docks, facilities and ports.
News From The Ports
* Jacksonville Port: offices will remain closed through through Tuesday.
* Port Canaveral: crews are making preliminary assessments and report no major damage. General harbor conditions are being assessed to facilitate a return to normal operations as soon as possible.
* Port Everglades: damage assessment is underway. The port will reopen pending approval from the U.S. Coast Guard.
* Port Miami: remains closed while being surveyed by U.S. Coast Guard.
* Port Tampa Bay: Initial assessments at the port show minor damage and flooding. Although vessel traffic is still suspended, plans are underway to load and begin the first transfers of fuel to tanker trucks today.
Even after the ports reopen, distributors may face challenges by way of power outages at gas stations, and flooded or closed streets.
Florida gas prices are averaging $2.72/g as of Tuesday. The state average is 8 cents more than this time last week, according to AAA.
The most expensive gas price averages in Florida are in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton ($2.80), Miami ($2.77), and Fort Lauderdale ($2.75)
The least expensive gas price averages in Florida are in Pensacola ($2.65), Tallahassee ($2.70), and Fort Myers-Cape Coral ($2.70)
Gas Price Survey Methodology
AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.GasPrices.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline.
Source: The Auto Club Group the second largest AAA club in North America.