Saturday, November 18, 2017
Business

Experts see gas shortages easing in next few days

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Tampa Bay drivers: gas pump normalcy is just a few days away.

Port Tampa Bay and other state ports are receiving fuel shipments and hundreds of gasoline trucks are fanning out across the state to refuel gas stations.

"There's been a lot of high demand in the market because of people gassing up generators and fueling up to go out of town and come back to town," Josh Carrasco, spokesperson for AAA, the Auto Club, said

Port Tampa Bay, which reopened Monday and began receiving fuel Tuesday, is expecting about 10 fuel vessels by the end of the week. Four fuel ships came into the port Tuesday night. More than 300 gas trucks transported about 2.7 million gallons of gasoline out of the port between Monday and Tuesday.

COMPLETE COVERAGE:Find all our coverage about Hurricane Irma here

Across the state, Port Canaveral received its first fuel shipment Tuesday and resumed operations and Port Everglades, which serves south Florida, welcomed three fuel ships Tuesday totaling 18 million gallons of gas.

"Those are important signs for Florida because Florida doesn't have its own refineries," Carrasco said.

Florida Highway Patrol is escorting some fuel trucks to "priority areas" such as Gainesville where fuel shortages are particularly severe, Steve Gaskins, spokesperson for FHP's Tampa branch, said.

"We just had troopers take a couple of tankers that are headed down to Naples right now," he said.

Gaskins said early Wednesdasy afternoon that there are no closures on I-75, despite reports of flooding.

It will still be at least a few more days, however, before all gas stations are back to normal, Carrasco said, though he did not want to put a firm timeline on it. A search on the GasBuddy app, which crowd sources which gas stations currently have fuel, shows more than a dozen marked as having no gas as of Wednesday afternoon.

Large gas retailers such as Wawa and 7-Eleven are more likely to get gas first, AAA's Carrasco said, followed by smaller gas stations. In a few weeks once Gulf refineries in Texas and Louisiana come fully back online, gas prices should begin to decline.

"Once we get past this juncture, there is some relief in sight for motorists," he said.

To check if stations near you have gas, download an app such as GasBuddy, which are use crowd sourcing to mark the current offerings of gas stations.

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.

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