Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton echoed that sentiment in an interview streamed live over the Internet on Thursday.
“(I) know that this is frustrating. “There are lines 20 cars long and an hour wait and this one down the street is closed”.
At least 12 petroleum refineries are now off line along the Texas Gulf coast. So if that three million barrels of refined capacity stayed offline for an entire month that would be 90 million barrels that wouldn’t be produced. The U.S. refines 18 million of those barrels and six million of that is refined in Texas.
But this represents only a few million barrels of gasoline out of the country’s total 230 million barrel supply. When 10 times as many people are going to gas stations, that’s what’s causing a shortage.
Even though Craddick says supply is plentiful, many KXAN viewers are reporting gas stations they’ve encountered have run out of regular unleaded. “So a truck comes from some sort of distribution terminal that is either filled by bigger trucks or or trains, usually by pipelines”.
The bulk of retail gasoline dispensed at pumps in Austin is refined by Flint Hills Resources in Corpus Christi and then transported by pipeline to a terminal off USA 290 east of Interstate 35. “Most gas goes to other areas of the country or overseas”.
Sitton, while reminding people he was not an attorney, warned people of gasoline gouging and not to pay an exponential amount for gasoline.
“There’s plenty of gasoline”, he said. “Short term can have an impact on prices”.
Gas prices have already risen 17 cents in San Antonio since last week.
Brad Douglass, CEO of Douglass Distributing based out of Sherman, Texas, said the unprecedented rainstorm is responsible for affecting 31 percent of the refinery capacity in the United States.
As far as where the rumors of gas shortages came from, Sitton speculates word-of-mouth and social media had a lot to do with it.
“We don’t expect these refineries to be down that long”, he said. “A few people speculated that there could be gas shortages and that began this”.
While Azanza’s organization has received notices of fuel outages from some of its Austin members, he said the situation appeared to be worse in the Dallas area, where reports of long lines and empty pumps were more widespread. “Then people got on social media, and the public panicked”.
“This is a case of self-fulfilling prophecy”, continued Sitton.
Mills recommends the best thing you can do is to continue your daily routine as normal and to not get gas unless you need it.
“If you have a full tank or know you can go three to four days without gas, I would not be anxious”, said Sitton.