Gas Shortage Looms Over Florida

While Katrina spared most of the state from major damage, it is expected to be felt in other ways. The storm is disrupting oil drilling in the Gulf and refining operations in Louisiana, which means Florida could face a shortage of gasoline.

Floridians burn 23 million gallons of gas a day. The state began the week with about 140 million gallons in storage facilities, but Katrina has shut down gulf drilling and refining operations, and without new shipments to the port of Tampa and elsewhere, there are concerns Florida could start running short on gas supplies.

Gov. Jeb Bush says right now it boils down to patience.

“I would ask that people be patient, to make sure that they take care of their own needs, but also recognize that their neighbors need gas as well.”

While the governor is warning against hoarding gas, his advisors remain optimistic about future supply.

Colleen Castile is the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and says, “We’ll be getting deliveries. We’ll just have to tell you where those come from once we hear from the petroleum companies.”

With six to eight days of gas currently in the state, the concern for Florida motorists is how quickly more gas can be brought in.

The governor says the state is also looking for gas from non-Gulf refineries.

“This will be a regional and perhaps a nation issue for the short run as we assess, as the damage to the refineries is assessed. If there is damage it could create significant problems.”

A lack of gas is also likely to send prices for gas that is available even higher.