With Hurricane Dorian expected to strike Florida next week, gas stations across the state are starting to run out of fuel.
“Florida motorists are already beginning to find gas stations without fuel. As drivers line up at gas stations to top off their tanks, it can be challenging for retailers to keep up with the surging demand,” AAA noted on Friday.
“Gas stations can only hold so much fuel at a time. As hurricanes approach, retailers run out of gasoline, like stores run out of water,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA and the Auto Club Group. “However, work will continue as long as it is safe, to resupply those tanks. Although there is still plenty of gasoline in the state, the challenge is getting it from the terminals to the pump. Florida will continue receiving shipments of gasoline, as long as the ports remain open. Drivers of fuel tankers will continue making deliveries until it is no longer safe to do so.”
“The majority of Florida’s gasoline supply is delivered via waterborne ships from refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. The primary fuel delivery points are the ports in Jacksonville, South Florida (Port Everglades), and Tampa. Once delivered to the port, tanker trucks line up at the port’s terminals to be filled with fuel, and then drive to your local convenience store. This process continues until the port shuts down due to tropical storm force winds, and road conditions have deteriorated. Even after the ports close to ships, tanker trucks can continue picking up fuel until the port fully closes to all staff,” AAA noted. “As long as Florida’s ports remain open, gasoline deliveries will continue. How long it takes for each gas station to be refilled can vary.”
AAA also noted that Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked ports to stay open as long as they can for gasoline to be delivered; has waived weight restrictions on tanker trucks from 8,000 to 9,000 gallons of fuel; and waived “hours of service” limits for drivers so deliveries can be completed.
AAA also looked ahead as to what will happen after Hurricane Dorian hits Florida.
“There will be an immediate focus on refueling gas stations following the storm,” AAA noted. “Once the storm passes, the Coast Guard inspects the port for damage before reopening it to inbound ships. There are often gasoline tankers waiting off shore to immediately begin making deliveries. The port’s loading racks must also be inspected for pipe and electrical damage, before tanker trucks can begin loading up. If the port sustains significant damage, gasoline deliveries can be supplemented by other regions. Some gas stations may remain closed in the short term for reasons such as: no staffing, no gasoline, no electricity. If a gas station does not have electricity, the pumps will not work.”