On the eve of the busy Labor Day holiday weekend, convenience store operators and other gasoline retailers say there’s a strong chance they'll run out of fuel at some locations this weekend.
While multiple refineries shut down along the Gulf Coast due to Hurricane Harvey, one Texas commissioner said the fuel problem is actually due to people rushing gas stations. He called it a problem of demand and logistics rather than one of an actual shortage in the state.
"There's plenty of gasoline," Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said. "This will subside."
Sitton said as word spread of a potential gasoline shortage, drivers rushed to stations to refuel, creating a larger-than-usual demand.
“I called my family members and told them to fill up their tanks,” said John Benda, who owns three Fuel City stores in Haltom City and Dallas and is building a fourth location in Saginaw. “I have never seen it this tight, since 1980, even when we were rationing.”
Meanwhile, the high demand of gas has led to an increase in prices and stations running out of gas across the area.
At a QuikTrip near Eagle Drive and U.S. 377 in Denton, about two-thirds of the gas pumps were shut down late Tuesday. Customers were told the fuel tanks were running low.
QuikTrip, which operates 135 stores in North Texas, plans to stop selling gasoline at roughly half its stores this weekend, spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said.
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