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Florida governor asks evacuees to 'please be considerate' and not fill gas tanks 'to the brim' ahead of Hurricane Irma

Key Points
  • Florida Gov. Rick Scott said evacuees should not fill gas tanks "to the brim," asking people only take what they need.
  • The path of Hurricane Irma, a rare Category 5 storm, is increasingly likely to cross most of Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center on Thursday.
  • Motorists across the state lined up to fill their tanks, making it difficult to resupply gas stations.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Hurricane Irma: One our top priorities is fuel shortages

Hurricane preparation is nothing new to Floridians, but the uncertain path and tremendous size of Hurricane Irma has put more stress on the state's gasoline stations than during previous storms.

With Irma, a rare Category 5 storm potentially bound for many different parts of the state, drivers lined up at stations across Florida. That created a statewide run on gasoline and other supplies, making it hard to keep stations supplied.

Governor Rick Scott announced Thursday he is working with the White House, FEMA and the Department of Energy to refuel gas stations across Florida.

"I spoke to them about waving the federal rules and regulations to get as much fuel as possible to our state and through our ports," Scott said in a press briefing.

Here's how energy commodities could react to Irma: Kloza

Scott urged evacuees to take only as much gasoline as they need. Several counties in southern Florida had declared or were considering mandatory evacuations by Thursday.

"We are working around the clock to get fuel to you," Scott said of shortages at gas stations.

The governor urged evacuees to only take the amount of fuel necessary to travel to one's destination and to not stock up.

"You don't need to fill your tank to the brim to stay in your own county," Scott said. "We've got to be considerate to get as many people the fuel they need."

All of Florida's ports remain open, Scott said, and state officials are working to get "as much fuel as possible."

James Miller, director of communications for the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, told CNBC on Wednesday that the Sunshine State has seven days worth of fuel even if all ports and roads are closed. Just a few days ago, some Florida distributors were redirecting supplies to Texas to help areas hard hit by Hurricane Harvey, he said.

Stations ran dry in Dallas last week as panic buying exacerbated problems shipping fuel from refineries to retail pumps due to flooding on the Gulf Coast. In Florida, the shortages appear to be purely the result of a pre-emptive buying.

Generators hot item as Florida preps for Irma