PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — Convenience store operators think Hurricane Irma evacuations out of Florida could strain the gas supply in Georgia.
Several state agencies and gas retailers held a conference call Thursday to talk about getting fuel flowing again once Irma moves through.
Angela Holland with the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores said the fuel supply was already a bit tight due to Hurricane Harvey. She said South Georgia supplies are already being affected by the Irma exodus.
“With so many people coming up from Florida, it could be very tight. We’ve already seen some spotty outages in the area,” she said.
Florida evacuee Brady Redding said he filled up before leaving Fort Myers and the pump ran dry as he tried to fill up again.
“I went and I (tried to) put $20 in the car. It stopped at $19.32 as I was getting my last ... gas,” he said.
Channel 2’s Jim Strickland visited a gas station in Dallas where there were plenty of cars throughout the afternoon. Operators said the metro area gas supply is OK.
According to GasBuddy.com, metro area gas prices have been steady for a week at a two-year high.
“I hadn’t really paid attention to the gas prices the last few days, so when I got to the store I thought, ‘Gosh, that’s outrageous,’” driver Tammy Smith said.
Store operators are looking ahead to Irma’s aftermath, asking state officials for special access to any evacuation areas so they can get fuel flowing to first responders during cleanup.
“They’ll want to have re-entry passes to get back in. They’ll need staff to dry-run the stores. They’ll have to have the Department of Agriculture come out to check the tanks to make sure they don’t have water in their tanks,” Holland said.
The Convenience Store Association said it had already made key moves to protect supplies from Harvey, so some of the preparations for Irma are already set.
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