Fuel industry inching toward normalcy in wake of historic storms

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Historic storms in recent weeks are disrupting fuel supplies from Texas to the Southeast. Many gas stations are empty and have been forced to turn customers away. Leaders in Washington are searching for a remedy. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says there are in place to address the shortage.

Sec. Rick Perry says the federal government is doing what it can do get as much fuel to Florida as is available.

“We want to make sure that every drop of fuel that is possibly available gets in the right places in Florida,” said Perry.

The state gets most of its fuel by sea, which was dramatically affected by Irma and Harvey.
Perry says that’s why the administration is temporarily suspending limits on cargo availability to expedite shipments

“Tankers that are being moved in by land, he’ll give law enforcement to go with them to open up and make sure the roads are open. The Coast Guard’s working with the maritime side to bring in the fuel into the ports,” said Perry.

The devastation from Harvey and Irma brought a national surge in gas prices, but some say a return to normalcy could happen soon.

“Once these ports open we’re going to get product back in. But we also need to do it safely,” said Chet Thompson, President and CEO of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

Thompson says the industry was well prepared for the storms. He says in addition to reopening Florida ports power needs to be restored.

“We need the roads to be clear. We need to be able to get these tankers, these truck drivers and these jobbers to be able to get to the station safely. And then when you get there you need power in order to load product,” said Thompson.

Thompson says the fuel situation in Texas is nearly back to normal. He says Florida could be back in just a few weeks.