Gasoline Blues

The one-two punch of Hurricanes Charley and Frances caused a gas crunch in some parts of Florida leading to the gas ration rumor, but industry experts say the problem is not a shortage of fuel.

Gas executives blame it on power outages and damaged gas stations.

Tammy Graham has heard reports of motorists having a tough time finding fuel around Florida after Hurricanes Charley and Frances, but she’s not worried yet.

Tammy says, “I don’t really panic about it. I just, if I pass a gas station, I notice if I’m running low I just go in there and top the tank off.”

Bogus rumors of gas rationing combined with long lines have caused confusion and anger for many motorists, especially with Ivan waiting in the wings. People in the industry say the perception out there that Florida has a gas crisis is absolutely false and they’re worried people are panicking for no reason.

Jim Smith with the petroleum marketers blames the gas crunch on shipments delayed by the storm, combined with power outages and damaged fuel stations.

Jim says, “These long lines are limited to where Charley made landfall and where Frances made landfall. You haven’t long lines in Tallahassee, they don’t sit in lines in Tampa, they don’t sit in lines in Miami.”

Still, Gov. Jeb Bush doesn’t want to get caught short again; 169 million gallons of fuel are now being distributed around the state, and another 22 tanker ships are heading in with more.

Gov. Jeb Bush says, “When people evacuate and we have emergency responders all over the place guzzling up gas as well as they need to, we’re going to have issues, so we will make sure that the evacuation routes, if necessary, will be well stocked with gas.”

The governor says the best plan is fill your tank before you leave home. On an average day, Florida consumers use more than 26 million gallons of fuel.