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AAA: Florida fuel supply could take ‘a week’ to normalize

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

As the remnants of Hurricane Irma move out of Florida, work is underway to resupply the state with gasoline, the AAA said Monday.

Florida gas prices are averaging $2.72 per gallon today. The state average is 8 cents more than this time last week.

Irma “caused a huge spike in gasoline demand as residents evacuated, topped off their tanks, or filled gas cans to power generators,” a press release said. “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.”

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,” the release said. “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.”

Here’s the rest of the release:

“Florida evacuees should plan their return home very carefully,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “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.”

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. Even after the ports reopen, distributors may face challenges by way of power outages at gas stations, and flooded or closed streets.

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