Georgia officials warned that fuel availability may take another hit this week as millions of evacuees take to their cars to return home in Florida and southeast Georgia.
“Fuel outages are being reported throughout the state,” the Georgia Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday in a statement.
“In addition to difficulty resupplying due to the storm, stations in South Georgia are also experiencing power outages and flooding of their tanks, preventing them from reopening. We want everyone to be aware that access to fuel will not be guaranteed if they choose to travel south.”
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It’s not an actual shortage of the gasoline, Garrett Townsend, AAA spokesman told WABE.
“In the system there's plenty of gas. It's just delayed in getting to its distribution point.”
Most of the problems centered around I-75, the main artery that leads directly from Atlanta to Tampa and Fort Myers in Florida. Drivers faced miles of gridlock Tuesday as masses of evacuees began packing up and heading home.
Florida Governor Rick Scott expressed concern for fuel availability on the road as well, the Miami Herald reported.
“The only slowdown I see right now is the 75-Turnpike, where they come together — but it’s moving,” Scott said. “DOT has done a real good job keeping that moving, but we’ve got to keep fuel on that road.”
Data from GasBuddy’s tracking tool showed the vast majority of Columbus and Phenix City stations operating at normal capacity, but at least five stations were still reporting no fuel or power, and about two-dozen were operating with only limited fuel options.
Prices around town remained stable following the storm, ranging from around $2.59 to $2.69 throughout the Columbus area. That’s about where they’ve been for about a week.
Experts say prices will probably begin to fall soon after refineries shut down from Harvey begin ramping up production again and the distribution system eases back into normal after Irma.
Scott Berson: 706-571-8578, @ScottBersonLE