JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Drivers filling up their cars with gas before Hurricane Dorian might soon find themselves looking for more fuel if their power goes out. Fortunately, Florida law requires newer gas stations to be capable of running on generators.
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The state law, which applies to gas stations built or substantially renovated after July 1, 2006, was passed following the 2005 hurricane season, which saw the Sunshine State impacted in turns by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has lifted restrictions on hours of service and weight limits on fuel trucks, allowing fuel trucks to replenish supplies throughout the state. The governor has also asked neighboring states, including Alabama and Georgia, to waive their limits, so they can help provide fuel to Florida.
"We're working closely with the fuel industry to ensure an adequate fuel supply," DeSantis said Thursday. "You've seen some long lines at different parts of the state, some of the gas stations have run out. There is a lot of fuel in Florida, it's just when a gas station runs out, the trucks have to bring it in from the port, so my emergency order allows there to be more capacity for fuel delivery."
In addition, DeSantis said Attorney General Ashley Moody's office is closely monitoring price-gouging complaints throughout the state when it comes to fuel, water and other storm supplies.
"We've seen some reports of that, not just with fuel but with water," he said. "And that's not consistent with the law, and you will be held accountable."
Florida motorists are already beginning to find gas stations without fuel. As drivers line up at gas stations to top off their tanks, it can be challenging for retailers to keep up with the surging demand.
"Gas stations can only hold so much fuel at a time. As hurricanes approach, retailers run out of gasoline, like stores run out of water," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. "However, work will continue as long as it is safe, to resupply those tanks. Although there is still plenty of gasoline in the state, the challenge is getting it from the terminals to the pump. Florida will continue receiving shipments of gasoline, as long as the ports remain open. Drivers of fuel tankers will continue making deliveries until it is no longer safe to do so."
Here's an explanation of how gasoline is delivered to your local store.
The majority of Florida's gasoline supply is delivered via waterborne ships from refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. The primary fuel delivery points are the ports in Jacksonville, South Florida (Port Everglades), and Tampa. Once delivered to the port, tanker trucks line up at the port's terminals to be filled with fuel, and then drive to your local convenience store. This process continues until the port shuts down due to tropical storm force winds, and road conditions have deteriorated. Even after the ports close to ships, tanker trucks can continue picking up fuel until the port fully closes to all staff.
As long as Florida's ports remain open, gasoline deliveries will continue. How long it takes for each gas station to be refilled can vary.
Use the map below to find gas stations in your area which can operate even if power is out.
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