Hurricane Harvey may be battering the coast over 450 miles south, but Texoma and Dallas area residents are feeling some of the effects. Harvey blew through the southern part of Texas, shutting down nearly a quarter of refinery capacity. Hearing this news has caused a state-wide panic for fuel.
Hundreds of gas stations from Dallas up to Van Alstyne are out of fuel due to people rushing out to buy gas before the “shortage.” Dallas residents have certainly been feeling the wrath of the fuel shortage panic, but worry has reached all the way up to the northern cities as well. The 7-11 off of White St. in Anna said they were completely out of fuel this weekend in a phone interview. Even the pumps at the Shell stations in Van Alstyne were bled dry over the weekend.
On a positive note, many Sherman stations remained seemingly unaffected, at least during the height of the apparent shortage. The Circle K station on the corner of FM 1417 and Hwy 75 currently still had fuel several days into the panic, with one customer reporting that he drove all the way from McKinney just to fill up his tank.
Additionally, not all of the stations in Dallas were out of fuel, though some of the stations chose to hike up the price of fuel in response to the increased need. A Shell station off of Addison Rd. in Addison raised the gas to over $4 per gallon. A representative of the store was not available for comment.
Representatives of fuel distributers asked for North Texas residents to calm down. Ironically, the people panicking about the fuel shortage turned out to be the ones causing it in the first place.
“We ask all of our neighbors to make fuel purchases as you normally would,” a press release from Douglass Distributing stated. “The worst thing we can do as a community is all of us showing up at one time to get fuel. This creates an additional challenge for each delivery.”
Douglass informed the public that the shortage is indeed a result of the southern refineries being temporarily closed. However, Douglass said the company still has access to plenty of fuel. Douglass does not expect the shortage to last longer than one week, the release stated on Thursday, Aug. 31.
“There is no outage,” the report stated. “There is fuel.” The lines that the delivery trucks have to wait in to be filled are longer due to the refineries being shut down, which has lead to the public panic and perception of fuel shortage.
Douglass asked people to know that they are working to solve the problem. “We want to assure everyone that we have all of our delivery trucks running 24 hours, resupplying our local communities in Northeast Texas and South Eastern Oklahoma,” the press release stated.
Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said the problem is supply and logistics. In a report from WFAA channel 8, Sitton said once the rumors of a fuel shortage start, it spurs a rush to the gas stations. This action starts a snowball effect — the stations see a higher demand than usual, which causes them to temporarily run out of fuel.
The CNNMoney website stated that Harvey has clearly affected gas production. Before Harvey hit the south, Americans were using less fuel than what was being produced, CNN reported. However, once the refineries were knocked offline, it reduced production to around 7.7 million barrels per day, while Americans consume around 9.7 million barrels per day on average.