HURRICANE HARVEY AFTERMATH: Panic at the pumps

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Gas shortage concerns cause panic buying in Ellis County

By Charles D. Hatfield, Jr. The Ellis County Press

ELLIS COUNTY – Panicking motorists lined up at gasoline stations throughout central and north Texas, causing sporadic fuel shortages after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the region’s energy distribution network.

RED OAK MURPHY EXPRESS GAS LINES stretching out into the road Aug. 31.

Lines have snaked around gas stations in Ferris, Red Oak, Dallas, Austin and other cities, causing dozens of locations to shut down temporarily as they await new supplies.

E-Z Mart in Ferris ran out Friday afternoon and was resupplied later at $2.39 per gallon. Ferris Police Chief Eddie Salazar and officers were on hand for traffic control.

In Red Oak, Murphy Gas had long lines of cars waiting to get their turn at the pump. By Sunday, prises had risen to $2.65 a gallon for regular.

In some gas stations in East Austin, Texas, the price of regular gasoline jumped 20 cents a gallon overnight as cars lined up to get gas.

FERRIS E-Z MART GAS LINES stretching east past the Ferris ISD Administration offices Sept. 1.

Energy providers, meanwhile, are taking extraordinary measures to reroute supplies to the region after the storm knocked out nearly 30-percent of the nation’s refining capacity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

In some cases, those efforts could lead to lower supplies in other parts of the country, such as Florida.

Experts warn that drivers should not panic because rushing to top off tanks could make the problem worse.

National retail prices could reach as high as $2.75 in the coming days after wholesale prices, a leading indicator, jumped sharply, according to independent projections Friday by GasBuddy.com petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan and Oil Price Information Service analyst Tom Kloza. 

Even so, prices remain well below the record of $4.114 from July 2008, AAA data show.

Although the U.S. had some 230 million barrels of gasoline in storage as of Friday – ample supply in a crisis – transporting fuel from

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