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AAA says ‘panic buying’ causing most gasoline supply issues in Florida

This graphic shows how gas is distributed.
This graphic shows how gas is distributed.(AAA)
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 12:41 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – The Colonial Pipeline is still down, but Florida is well supplied with fuel. AAA says that panic buying is the root cause of fuel outages at gas stations.

“It’s likely that motorists are seeing reports about supply issues in other states - due to the pipeline - and are racing out to top off their tanks,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The problem is, that surge in demand is what actually creates the supply issue, since gas stations can only hold so much fuel at a given time.”

Florida is not heavily reliant on the Colonial Pipeline. Ninety percent of Florida’s gasoline flows in through ports on cargo ships. That gasoline is then driven to the pumps on tanker trucks. There is a shortage of delivery drivers, according to both Attorney General Ashley Moody and Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“This is not a refinery issue. Gasoline is still being made and fuel continues sailing through Florida ports, regardless of whether Colonial Pipeline is operational,” Jenkins continued. “Florida is said to have access to plenty of gasoline. It’s now just a matter of getting the fuel where it’s needed, primarily those gas stations that are being tapped out due to panic buying.”

Overnight, Gov. DeSantis enacted a state of emergency to help fill demand. The executive order enables fuel trucks to carry more gasoline (between 500 and 1,000 gallons more) and spend more time on the roads making deliveries.

Additionally, the EPA has granted a waiver that strengthens Florida’s fuel access, by allowing the sale of both winter and summer blend gasoline. What this means is more gasoline being delivered to a neighborhood near you.

If you suspect price gouging, AG Moody has released how you can report that to her office via the state’s hotline.

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