Motorists returning to work after the long Labor Day weekend will find it a bit easier to buy gasoline compared to last week, when a panic about a fuel shortage related to Hurricane Harvey caused long lines and widespread outages at the pumps.
But the situation is still far from normal.
Monday, many stations still featured darkened pumps. Those that were open were selling gallons of regular unleaded for an average of $2.67, according to the crowdsourcing website GasBuddy.
One of the cheapest places in Tarrant County was on Interstate 20 in Arlington, where a Rudy’s was selling gas for $2.13. But just a couple of miles away, a Shell station near I-20 and South Bowen Road was advertising gas for $3.99.
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A sign at a Walmart Neighborhood Market Murphy USA on Basswood Boulevard in far north Fort Worth, where the fuel pumps had been shut off since Wednesday, sported this message:
“We are currently experiencing a fuel shortage and apologize for the inconvenience. In an effort to fully support our community please know that we are working diligently with our fuel suppliers to remedy this issue.”
A mile to the north, a Kroger station on North Tarrant Parkway had gas for $2.59 a gallon, and a nearby RaceTrac was selling fuel for $2.65. But a few hundred feet away, a 7-Eleven and a Valero convenience store still had their pump handles wrapped in plastic.
Throughout North Texas, about 50 percent of stations remained closed, according to the GasBuddy’s availability tracker.
Last week, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton said there was no fuel shortage, and that the state’s residents should be patient for three to five days until the logistics of fuel delivery in the wake of the storm — which forced refineries in Baytown, Corpus Christi, Houston and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast to shut down — were resolved.
But others, including ExxonMobil’s corporate leadership, urged Texans to avoid unnecessary driving.