Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Says There Is No Gas Shortage
Runs on gas stations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey have led to reports of a statewide fuel shortage, but Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick has taken to social media to urge calm.
In an August 28 Twitter post, Craddick wrote, "Texans - Pls stay calm and DO NOT perpetuate rumors. There is currently NO shortage of gasoline in Texas due to #Harvey. These are rumors."
Craddick was directing users to a report from the Texas Food and Fuel Association, in which TFFA President Paul Hardin wrote, “In some areas we are seeing fuel outages, or stores closed due to non-fuel related issues, including: infrastructure damage, flooding, and lack of electricity. With a number of refineries shut down, the supply of fuel could be an issue for a week or so, depending on how long the rain continues in the affected areas."
In the TFFA report, Hardin said roughly 25% of U.S. fuel-making capacity is out of commission as officials await damage reports, but that some oil refineries were back up and running.
“If you live in Austin for example, you may see some retail sites with limited dispensers in operation; however, those cases should not be seen as there being a fuel shortage issue, rather, they are strains that reflect the emergency operation needs in the Southeastern region of the state," Hardin said.
Railroad Commission spokesman Ryan Sitton sat down for a streaming interview with the Texas Tribune Thursday to address rumors of a gas crisis.
Sitton said 15 Texas refineries remain closed or operating at reduced capacity, meaning around 2 million barrels of gasoline a day are out of production. However, he said, there are 230 million gallons in storage, and thus no nationwide shortage.
Sitton repeated Craddick's statement that getting that fuel to Texas stations is a logistics issue, and stressed that rumors of shortages were fueling panicked runs on stations.
"Unfortunately this is a case of somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy," Sitton told the Texas Tribune. "It's like a run on the bank out of 'A Wonderful Life'".
You can watch Sitton's entire Texas Tribune interview below.