FLORIDA, USA — Some drivers across the First Coast are pulling up to their usual gas stations to fill up, only to find a limited supply at the pumps.
A cyberattack caused the Colonial Pipeline to shut down operations for a few days, but it is expected to be fully operational by the weekend. But, experts say that has no impact on supply in Florida -- it's people rushing to the pumps out of fear that is leading to the problems finding gas.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency to allow relaxed restrictions on the state's ability to get more fuel trucks into parts of the state that need it. He said a gas shortage could cause problems for Florida's economy.
As of right now, officials say there is no fuel shortage. But many drivers are still looking for gas and are left with questions about supply across the First Coast.
Where is gas available in my area?
The supply of various gas stations is changing on a daily basis. One Shell station on Hodges Boulevard cut off gas to preserve supply Tuesday night, but by Wednesday morning, a truck delivered more fuel and they were back in business.
That means it's important to check before you head to fuel up whether the station currently has supply. Just because a gas station had fuel earlier in the day, it may be out later in the evening, and vice versa.
Thankfully, there are several sites that allow you to check supply before you head out.
First Coast News is On Your Side finding resources for drivers who absolutely need to get gas but don't want to drive all around town. You can use this Gas Buddy Tracker to find out where the shortages are. Just enter your ZIP code, and it will list which stations have fuel.
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Under DeSantis' emergency order, the state is waiving weight and size restrictions on fuel trucks to allow for more gas to reach the region.
"We don't want to see these long gas lines persist throughout the northern part of our state," DeSantis said.
Why is demand so high?
The Florida American Automobile Association tells First Coast News that the pipeline has no impact on the state's gas prices. But, NBC News is reporting that demand for gas is up 40% across the Southeast.
Gas prices are up 6 cents on average across the nation compared to last week, with the national average surpassing $3 a gallon Wednesday for the first time in years.
The average price of a gallon of gas in Jacksonville is $2.84. To find cheaper gas near you or on your daily route, try Gas Buddy or Waze. These apps will show you all the gas stations along your route and their price of gas.
When will things be back to normal?
Colonial Pipeline said Monday it hopes to have service mostly restored by the end of the week. The company offered the update after revealing that it had halted operations because of a ransomware attack the FBI has linked to a criminal gang.
Colonial is in the process of restarting portions of its network. It said Sunday that its main pipeline remained offline, but that some smaller lines were operational. The company has not said when it would completely restart the pipeline.
The governor's state of emergency makes price gouging illegal, which will be in effect for 30 days.
What can I do to conserve fuel?
Here are a few ways to preserve your gas to reduce the need to fill up your tank:
- Perform routine maintenance
- Keep tires inflated to the ideal pressure
- Combine short trips
- Drive at moderate speeds
- Drive friendly
- Travel light
- Keep your car 'aerodynamic'
- Use the highest feasible gear
- Avoid excessive idling
You can be a part of our coverage. If you see a gas station that's out of gas, pull out your phone (if safe to do so) and go to the First Coast News app. Tap "Near Me" in the bottom right-hand corner and upload your photo or video. Don't forget to tell us the location!
WCNC Charlotte, WUSA9 and The Associated Press contributed to this report.