Florida state officials want to make sure it doesn't happen again this year. Some new rules are designed to keep stations powered up and the gas flowing.
The long lines at gas stations out of gas and out of power only added to the misery for Floridians plagued by hurricanes last year. This year state officials say they’ve got a commitment from big oil companies to do a better job of stocking up at the terminals before a storm hits.
We caught Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Colleen Castile on her way in to give the governor a status report.
Colleen Castille said, "We’ve asked them to increase supply. We’re in the process now of confirming whether they have a greater supply this year than they had pre-storm season last year. We’re working together with the oil companies to do that."
Gas stations around the state, especially those near evacuation routes, will now also have to be capable of running off generator power.
A bill just signed into law by Jeb Bush mandates generator capabilities at stations within a half-mile of major interstates and evacuation routes. Any company owning 10 or more stations will also have to have enough generators to power those stations.
Jim Smith with the Petroleum Marketers Association says it’s to the stations’ best interest as well.
Jim Smith said, "In an industry where we’d cut one another’s throat for a penny a gallon, we’re certainly not going to let our competitor across the street sell all the gasoline and we’re not going to be open and selling as well."
Bottom line, you may still have to wait in line for gas after a storm, but at least there should be gas available.
A bill signed into law Thursday by the governor will also create a voluntary network of fuel suppliers that will get gas to medical personnel and other first responders within 24 hours of a disaster.
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