After Hurricane Harvey, some state officials are insisting there is no shortage of gasoline in Texas.
The record rains and flooding limited the state's oil refining capacity, which has led to long lines at gas stations across Texas. But while drivers worry of a possible gas shortage in the near future, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said the problem is really just a matter of logistics and demand.
“Even if all the refineries were running, we’d still be having this issue," he told the Texas Tribune. "If you, on average, fill up your car once every six days, but you go today and so does everybody else, that’s six to seven times the demand on every gas station.”
Sitton says 15 refineries in Texas are offline or operating at reduced capacity after Harvey. But, he says, rumors of gas shortages are mostly what’s driving a rush to fill up at the pump.
Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the situation during a news conference this afternoon. He said the state is working to bulk up the supply of gas in Texas.
“The facts are, there is plenty of fuel, plenty of gasoline, in the United States of America. There is plenty of gasoline in Texas,” said Abbott. “We are ensuring an even greater supply of gasoline so we can tamp down any concern about accessibility to fuel that people may want to access over the course of the coming Labor Day weekend.”
However, today, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said it may take some time before refineries come back online.
“We have most of the refiner[ies] in America here and you’ll see some gas shortages as refineries are shut down," said Patrick. "It impacts our ability to keep energy prices low, to keep cars and planes moving with refined jet fuel and diesel fuel and fuel for automobiles, and it also impacts our national defense.”
Even Fort Hood in Killeen says it has been having fuel supply problems.
Governor Greg Abbott has taken some steps to bring more gasoline into Texas. Yesterday, he relaxed rules for trucking gas into the state and today he said a pipeline from Texas to Oklahoma has been reversed to send gas into Texas.
If you aren't on empty, it's probably not necessary to top off your tank or to stockpile gas, which will only prolong the distribution problems. But, if you're on empty, here is a map from GasBuddy that shows consumer reports of which stations have fuel: