San Antonians rush to gas up in Harvey's wake, but officials say don’t panic

Long gas lines all across San Antonio (SBG Photo)

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonians and evacuees are rushing to every gas station around town wondering if there's any gas left at the pump. With prices rising as well filling up your tank right now could take hours.

So is this a big problem or is this just temporary? At least 40 gas stations are without fuel in San Antonio according to GasBuddy's Gasoline Availability Tracker.

Toni Gutierrez, who was looking for gas, exclaims, "Oh my God this is crazy! However, I can see where it's coming from, but a little insane!"

And Lonnie Franklin, who was also looking, explains, "I looked at the HEBs, the Walmart’s, and the Alamo Ranch area and they were out of gas."

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Thursday that San Antonio is not facing a gasoline shortage. Delayed refinery operations, he said, have caused some stations to run low on gas.

“Please purchase gas as you would normally do," Nirenberg said. "Don’t be misled by social media, which is causing people to panic and purchase more gas than necessary.”

The Texas Food & Fuel Association said the fuel supply in Texas is being addressed by public and private partners.

San Antonio Independent School District announced many of its buses were delayed 30 minutes or more due to traffic congestion around gas stations.

San Antonio Police reported one disturbance related to gas at 7930 Callaghan Road at about 2:15 p.m Thursday afternoon. The complainant was concerned about traffic congestion, because the line of cars pumping gas spilled out in to the roadway.

We reached out to a AAA spokesman, who said the run-on gas was not necessary. He advised people to stay calm because this is a "very short-term situation." Gas inventory is at record levels in Texas, he said.

In an e-mail sent out by Daniel Armbruster from AAA, he said the refineries in the Corpus Christi area were shut down during the hurricane and have now been restarted but it's going to take a few days to a week for them to be brought back on line. And no word on the Houston refineries.

Until then, we can expect some spotty shortages. And he said "With reports of temporary gas shortages at some stations around Texas, drivers are encouraged to plan ahead for any road trips and should not allow their vehicle's gas level to fall below a 1/4 tank."

But as Trey Garcia, who had to make several stops to find gas explains, we have to keep our inconvenience in perspective, "I think we're really fortunate, none of the problems that Houston is having, just honestly feel fortunate. Whatever the problems we have to deal with that's fallout from that it's nothing compared to what they're dealing with over there."

And for Trey this is personal, "My mom's family lives in Houston. Everyone’s safe, Everyone’s of my cousins had to be rescued but other than that everyone is doing well," says Garcia.

AAA also said to expect prices to go up about 15 cents a gallon in the coming week.

But Trey says it’s not a big deal, "We have nothing to complain here. And our heart goes out to everyone in Houston and Louisiana and the coast."

LIVE: We're flying around San Antonio to check on lines at gas stations.

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CLICK HERE to check on gas prices in San Antonio.

Late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, a news crew came across empty pumps at several gas stations; including Exxon, Chevron and 7-11 stores. Thursday afternoon, there were multiple reports of long lines at stations throughout San Antonio, stations that had only 'premium' gas left, and others that were completely sold out.

Employees said they do not know when gasoline shipments will arrive.

Harvey caused at least 13 oil refineries to shut down, others are operating at a limited rate.


Texas Railroad Commissioner says there's no fuel crisis in Texas

On Wednesday, the largest oil refinery in the nation shut down due to flooding in Port Arthur.