U.S. gas stations may come under stress this Labor Day weekend as the lingering effects of Hurricane Harvey snarl the supply chain that moves fuel from refineries to the retail locations where Americans fill up their tanks.
Panic buying in some areas was exacerbating the supply crunch. Long lines have already formed at stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as Texans took preventative measures ahead of the Labor Day weekend, local news reported.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tried to calm nerves on Friday, saying at a news conference, "There's plenty of gasoline in the state of Texas," Reuters reported. "Don't worry. We will not run out."
On the other end of the supply chain are the refineries that produce gasoline and other fuels. Flooding from Harvey knocked out 20 to 25 percent of U.S. refining capacity, leaving some pipelines starved of fuel.
Abbott said the state had worked with refiners in Louisiana, Oklahoma and other states to send additional supply ahead of the Labor Day weekend.
On Friday, trucks were lined up outside fuel terminals, hoping to haul away gasoline and diesel to restock depleted tanks at convenience stores and truck stops, according to the head of a distribution company.
Harvey Steinhagen, president and CEO of PetroTexFuels, said lines of trucks formed around midday at Beaumont, Texas, terminals operated by Motiva. There was a similar scene at the Delek terminal in Tyler, Texas, east of Dallas earlier on Friday, he said.