Fill ups, frustrations, not enough fuel

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In the latest on the list of complaints from Harvey, some gas stations in Fort Worth are running out of gasoline heading into the holiday weekend.

The stations with fuel are raising prices to match demand – an average price of a gallon of gas is up more than 50 cents since Aug. 22, according to S&P Global Platts.

Harvey disrupted supplies by forcing 10 oil refineries across southeast Texas to shut down following widespread flooding. According to S&P, these refineries produce roughly 3.04 million barrels per day. With 16 percent of U.S. capacity down, people are lining up to make sure there is gas in their tanks.

The 7-11 gas station on W Berry St. (Photo by Makenzie Keely.)

“People have purchased $11,000 as of 11:30 a.m. today,” said Jehan Khan, an employee at the 7-Eleven at Berry Street and University Drive. “I just had a man buy 101 gallons of gas that totaled $300. We only have 2,500 gallons of gas left and at this rate, we should be out in the next hour.” 

Senior Brynn O’Banion said making sure there is gas in the tank this weekend is a family affair.

“My dad has taken every car my family owns to the gas station in the last 12 hours,” O’Banion said. “He arranged a time with me to bring my car back to my parents’ house so he could make sure I got gas.”

Some, like junior psychology major Sage Huggins, weren’t expecting the lack of gas in the area.

“Obviously I thought in Houston and the surrounding areas it may present itself as a problem, but in Fort Worth I thought we were so far removed from the situation that I didn’t think it was going to be an issue,” Huggins said. “I live off campus like 10 minutes away so the commute is a concern.”

The lack of fuel is causing some people to change their plans.

“I got to try and stay on campus as much as possible and not drive now,” said Colin Smith, a first-year fashion merchandising major. “I’m a little worried now. I’m hoping prices aren’t too ridiculous when I go.”

Those students who don’t have a car on campus may still feel the effects of the rising prices when using popular ride sharing apps.

It makes me think about how this is going to affect companies like Uber and Lyft,” said Evan Brizzell, a first-year kinesiology major. “If gas prices are going up, Uber and Lyft prices are going to go up as well to cover for those expenses.”   

Despite the rush by many to go fill up their cars, others aren’t convinced that drastic action is necessary. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called the rush for gas “unnecessary” and warned price gouging could be in effect.

Doctoral student Magy Mekhail said she views the problem as temporary.

“There’s a reserves supply, so I think people are blowing this out of proportion,” Mekhail said. “The refineries in Houston are what fuel our gas systems but once the water recedes I think it’ll all blow over.”  

For others, they view this as just another problem brought on by Harvey.

“I really am not nervous,” BLUU employee Rhoda Davis said. “It just goes along with everything else that’s happening, you just can’t control it.” 

Gracie Livingston, Paloma Norton, Justin Rountree, Lana Wynn and Hunter Smith contributed to this report.