Hurricane Dorian panic fuels gas shortages across Tampa Bay area

Tracking the Tropics

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As of Friday night, roughly half of Tampa Bay area gas stations were without fuel, according to reporting from GasBuddy.com

As Floridians rush to fuel up cars and generators before Hurricane Dorian, gas stations across the state are running dry.

A state of emergency means retailers cannot significantly raise prices, despite the shortage. Price gougers can be fined $1,000 per violation and up to a total of $25,000 for multiple violations within a 24-hour period.

Governor Ron DeSantis is asking port terminals to remain open as long as possible to keep fuel flowing. The Port of Tampa is one of the state’s primary fuel delivery points, where tankers come in from refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Friday that troopers can and will escort fuel trucks to gas stations if needed as the state scrambles to get gas back to the pumps.

Friday afternoon, 8 On Your Side interviewed customers at the Marathon gas station at Howard and Kennedy and watched as the pumps emptied out.

Jessica Geller, a University of Tampa student, was one of those disappointed customers and said she wasn’t nervous about the storm until she wasn’t able to find fuel.

“There are driplets, but nothing when I go-to fuel,” Geller said while standing at the pump. “On the other side, she said she didn’t have gas either.”

Across the street at Shell, cars lined up to fuel up with only premium and diesel still available.

“Not surprised by that, you have an entire state that just got hit by a hurricane a little over a year ago,” said Anthony Pedicini. “You have every elected official telling us to prepare for the worst and we are.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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