Rank the needs in Southwest Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian and right behind power, you’ll likely find fuel. high on the list Many stations have no electricity, no services and either no fuel or limited amounts.
Lines were forming at some stations in the Port Charlotte area, Channel 7 WSVN reported, even before fuel had arrived. With state and industry efforts to get more gas to the region, the shortages should ease in coming days — but in some of the hardest-hit areas, resources are acute and could be limited well into next week.
The shortages could also prove a problem for travelers using Interstate-75, particularly near Naples and Fort Myers, according to websites like GasBuddy, an online tracker where users can report gas stations with functioning power and pumps. (Further complicating travel through the area, the state shut down a portion of I-75 and set up detours late Friday in the Sarasota-Charlotte counties area because of rising water from the Myakka River. It was not immediately clear when it reopen.)
The GasBuddy website allows users to search for stations by state or city and reports whether a station is currently without power, gas, diesel or a combination of the three. There is also an outage tracker, where users can zoom in on a map to scan for nearby stations and see how many are experiencing outages versus how many are operating normally.
GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis Patrick De Haan took to Twitter on Friday to break down the shortages.
“Florida gas outages jumping, mainly in the hardest hit areas as people are starting to get back on the roads,” De Haan tweeted . “42.0% of stations in Ft. Myers/Naples without gas, 35.3% out in Tampa.”
GasBuddy’s outage tracker showed supplies increased dramatically across Alligator Alley on the East Coast.
As of Thursday, the Florida Department of Transportation also confirmed that all gas stations located within the turnpike’s rest stops are open and operating.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office also opened a fuel terminal in Port Everglades where a vessel with 25,000 barrels of fuel was received on Friday.
A news release from DeSantis’ office said 13 more vessels are en route to Port Everglades for a total of about 350,000 barrels of gasoline and 20,000 barrels of diesel fuel to service southwest Florida. It’s not clear where the fuel will be distributed once it is all received, but it’s likely to be a single step in a long road toward recovery.