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Dawn Henthorn

Gas Shortages Hitting Florida Hard... Or is it Panic?

By September 1, 2005

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Gas Marquee     Although the somewhat humorous photo here has been making its rounds on the Internet for some time, it is no longer a laughing matter. Already high gas prices are skyrocketing even higher from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, with over $3.00 a gallon being reported in many places across Florida. And, with the beginning of Labor Day weekend just a day away, now shortages are beginning to plague some areas of the state.
     Monday, Governor Jeb Bush warned residents of possible shortages in the next few days due as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Bush blamed oil companies for keeping lower inventories than they have in the past that makes shortages more likely. While Thursday, State officials reiterated that Florida has plenty of gasoline in storage for regular driving needs, as long as people don't start taking more than they require, Gov. Bush urged "shared sacrifice" to get through the gas crunch.
     The PalmBeachPost.com reported Bush as saying, "They can do that by combining trips, carpooling and not hoarding gas."
     Well, whatever the reason, some shortages are now becoming a reality throughout portions of Florida. I received a report this afternoon of shortages in the Ocala area and stations actually placing limits of just 12 gallons for larger vehicles. A friend has cancelled a trip to West Palm Beach because relatives have reported shortages and some stations are already out of gas. The station where we buy gas in the Tampa Bay area is out of gas completely and my daughter could only find mid-grade and premium on her way to work this afternoon.
     Whether it's panic or gasoline is truly in short supply, remains to be seen. Some areas are still getting trucks in to replenish drained tanks, but for how long? Florida gets is gas supply from the hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast region, and no one can seem to answer the question of when oil production and shipments of refined products will resume from that area.
     So, if you're old enough to remember the 70s with the gas shortages, rationing and those long lines at the pumps, you may be taking a not-so-pleasant trip down memory lane in the next few weeks.
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