With 10 oil refineries closed on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey causing a high demand for gas, Texas gas stations are temporarily running out of fuel. However, officials say there’s no shortage of fuel in the state.
Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said the level of concern and demand is outpacing the level of the issue, and that is making it difficult to resupply gas stations in a timely fashion.
"There's plenty of gasoline," he said. "This will subside. It’s only a logistics concern.”
There’s 230 million barrels of refined gasoline in the U.S. inventory, Sitton said.
Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick also took to Twitter Thursday to ask Texans to remain calm and not feed into rumors.
“There is currently no shortage of gasoline in Texas due to #Harvey,” she tweeted. “These are rumors.”
Several gas stations in Cedar Park ran out of gasoline Thursday as lines of customers came out in droves to fill up. There were reports of outages at the Whitestone Blvd. H-E-B, 7-Eleven and Valero Corner Store on New Hope Dr., as well as 7-Eleven on Bell Blvd.
“All day at work people were talking about there being gas shortages,” said David of Cedar Park, who asked his last name not be mentioned. “I’ve been driving around trying to find gas, and so far I haven’t found any yet.”
Gas prices in the Cedar Park area increased as well. Prior to running out of fuel Thursday, one Corner Store gas station had their regular unleaded gas priced $2.39 a gallon. The region’s gas prices previously were between about $2 and $2.10.
“It’s the same everywhere,” said a Corner Store manager, who asked to remain anonymous. “There’s too much demand, and not enough fuel. I wish I could say when we’ll have more."
It may take a few days for the situation to return to normal, Sitton said.
Currently 10 refineries in the Gulf Coast region are shut down. Six refineries have begun the process of assessing damage and restarting, which may take several days. Two refineries in the Gulf Coast region are operating at reduced rates. There are no reports of refineries unable to restart due to lack of commercial power, according to a release from the US Department of Energy.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday announced a transfer to Texas of 500,000 barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The reserve’s capacity of 713 million barrels is the largest emergency crude oil supply in the world.
To check for local gas station fuel availability, visit Gasbuddy.com's gas tracker feature here: http://tracker.gasbuddy.com/MobileSearch.aspx