Breckenridge Texan

UPDATED: Local residents line up to buy gas as rumors of shortage spread
September 01
08:51 2017

UPDATE: On Friday morning, most gas stations in town have gasoline, and the price is ranging from $2.39 per gallon to $2.59.

Late Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott eased restrictions on truckers bringing fuel and supplies into Texas. His office released the following statement:

Governor Greg Abbott today issued a temporary waiver of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), which will suspend requirements that trucking firms track and pay tax on the amount of fuel used in Texas when delivering needed relief supplies and fuel into the state. This suspension will expedite the process of getting needed relief supplies and fuel into the state and immediately reduce the cost and administrative burden getting these critical supplies across state lines.

“As Texas begins the recovery process in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it is important that Texans have access to much needed resources, including gasoline and fuel.” said Governor Abbott. “Texans should rest assured that their state government is doing every possible to ensure the accessibility and affordability of the necessities allowing us to focus on the process of rebuilding together after this storm.”

Additionally, Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton has commented several times via Twitter, the last stating: “There’s gas. We just have to get it to the pumps. When people panic and fill up unnecessarily, makes it harder.”

And, the Texas Attorney General’s Office released this statement:

Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a warning to gas stations against any attempt to take advantage of Texas consumers by fraudulent action in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general’s office received more than 500 complaints today, many of which involve allegations of high fuel prices in Dallas, including amounts ranging from $6-$8 dollars per gallon.

“Texas law protects consumers from fraud in Dallas and other parts of Texas outside of the governor’s declared disaster areas,” said Marc Rylander, communications director for the attorney general’s office. “If Dallas consumers are victims of fraud by gas stations, we urge them to contact our agency’s consumer protection hotline so that we can investigate and take appropriate action.”

Victims of fraud can report it immediately by calling the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-621-0508, emailing consumeremergency@oag.texas.gov, or filing a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov. Consumers are encouraged to submit photos and photo copies of gas receipts with their complaints, if possible.

Original Breckenridge Texan article from Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017:

Breckenridge residents apparently concerned about a potential gasoline shortage in Texas lined up Thursday afternoon at every gas station in town, while gas prices jumped 20 to 30 cents in a 24- to 36-hour period.

Wednesday morning, at least one local station was offering gasoline for $2.19 per gallon. By Thursday afternoon, it was up to $2.39 at most stations in town, with at least one showing $2.49 per gallon.

The price hike and fears of a shortage are the result of Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding, which has temporarily shut down 10 to 15 oil refineries, according to various reports.

City of Breckenridge employees lined up with other local residents Thursday afternoon at J.N. Browning Oil Co. to make sure their gas tanks are full, in case there is a fuel shortage due to Hurricane Harvey. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Breckenridge City Manager Andy McCuistion said the city department heads have been instructed to make sure the city vehicles are filled up with gas and to conserve gas, in case stations in Breckenridge run out of gas.

“From what I’m told, (J.N. Browning Oil Co.) is running out of gas, and they get their gas from Stephenville,” McCuistion said. “I think that’s why everybody is filling up now…the main sources are short. I know it’s spread on Facebook, so that’s probably why people are panicking. Whether it’s actual or real…or whether it’s just perceived, I don’t know.”

Texas Railroad Commission member Ryan Sitton confirmed McCuistion’s suspicions in an interview with WFAA in Dallas. “The crisis is not in the fuel supply; it’s in the people who are sitting there at a gas station,” Sitton said. “When people feel like there’s going to be a shortage…that’s very difficult in and of itself, and so just the traumatic experience for people that are waiting in long lines and are really concerned about this…that by itself can cause concern.”

Sitton went on to say that despite the refinery shut-downs, there is enough gasoline in storage to handle the demand.

“(The) reaction is what’s causing this (panic),” Sitton said. “And, the gas stations can’t get gasoline today to respond to this very short-term demand. They may not even get it tomorrow. It may take a couple of days, but…we’ve got plenty of gasoline…all the numbers tell us there’s not a (long-term) supply issue. And, so I think at the end of the day, it’s just going to take a little time for people to become aware of what the reality is. And, then when they do realize there isn’t an issue, this will pass very quickly.”

Breckenridge Independent School District Superintendent Tim Seymore said any short-term shortage won’t be a problem for the local schools.

“We were proactive, and our tanks are full,” he said. “Unless this shortage extends for a long period of time…then we are fine. I suspect we have a few weeks worth of fuel on site.”

However, Seymore said, there is an interruption in the supply. “How severe that is and how long it will last, I can’t tell you. We have gotten notified by TEA and Region 14 that there is an impending shortage and to please proceed accordingly,” he said. “I called our supplier in Fort Worth, and they have no fuel. So, if I were out of fuel and I ordered it, they could not deliver us any. We just filled (our tanks) up a week ago. We’re in good shape at the moment.”

Seymore will continue to monitor the situation to make sure BISD doesn’t suffer from the situation. “If we see this as a real thing, that there’s going to be a real fuel crisis, we are going to put a plan in place to reserve fuel,” he said. “But, I’m not going to panic today.”

 

Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown

Cutline, top photo: Vehicles line up at the gas pumps on West Walker Street in Breckenridge Thursday afternoon. Rising prices and rumors of a gas shortage prompted local residents to rush to gas stations around town to fill up their cars and trucks. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 

 

 

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