Irma Drains Gas Pumps

With Irma out of Florida, the work is underway to resupply the state with gasoline. 

Hurricane Irma caused a huge spike in gasoline demand as residents evacuated, topped of their tanks, and/or filled gas cans to power generators. 

This led to outages at various gas stations throughout Florida and neighboring states, and analysts say it could take a week for supply conditions to return to normal. 

Suppliers face an uphill battle in the coming days, trying to keep gas stations supplied, as Florida evacuees return home in large numbers after the storm. 

Gas stations not located along major highways should have an easier time keeping supplies, as residents are no longer "panic pumping," since the storm is no longer a threat. 

Officials say refueling gas stations along major evacuation routes will be a top priority, as it was before the storm. 

Motorists are still likely to find long lines, which could lead to temporary outages, due to the surge in demand.

Officials with AAA say all this means that evacuees need to plan their return home very carefully.

First, people need to ensure they know there are no major hazards at their homes or along their travel routes. 

Expect congestion on the roadways, as the first few days after the storm will be the busiest. Pay close attention to traffic reports. 

Ensure you have a full tank of gas before you hit the road. Do not let your fuel gauge fall below a quarter tank before you start looking for a place to refuel. 

Florida does not have any crude oil refineries and relies on petroleum products delivered by tanker and barge to Florida marine terminals, primarily at the ports of Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Port Canaveral, Port Manatee, and Port Everglades. 

Most of these ports have been shut since Saturday as a safety precaution. These ports can not reopen without passing inspection from the U.S. Coast Guard on all docks, facilities and ports. 

Officials note that work is being done to get the various ports inspected, cleared, and open for business again as quickly as possible.

Analysts say Florida gas prices are averaging $2.72 per gallon today. The state average is 8 cents more than this time last week. 

The most expensive gas price averages in Florida are in West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale.

The least expensive gas price averages in Florida are in Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Fort Myers-Cape Coral.

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