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Long Lines and Empty Pumps Persist in Panhandle

May 11th, 2021 by Jake Stofan

Gas distribution problems resulting from the cyber attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline are causing long lines and empty pumps in the Florida panhandle.

State officials are urging residents to remain calm and avoid panic buying.

There were two scenarios at gas stations in the state’s capital city Tuesday.

Empty stations drained of all fuel and others with long lines full of drivers fighting for a full tank.

Tallahassee resident Dondre Thompson came to the pump expecting a length wait.

“I’ve already been to like 15 gas stations around the east side of Tallahassee so I’m on E. I’m just trying to get some gas,” said Thompson.

Florida Director of Consumer Services Rick Kimsey told us a perfect storm of separate issues has resulted in the distribution problems.

“It started with a fuel quality issue in the Western Panhandle. That coupled with a nationwide driver shortage for petroleum truck drivers and then the cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline,” said Kimsey.

Kimsey doesn’t expect the problem to spread statewide, as much of the Peninsula gets its gas from the ports.

He said even in the Panhandle there’s plenty of fuel.

It’s just a matter of getting it to the pump fast enough to keep up with demand, which is skyrocketing due to panic buying.

“Any pressure on the system is going to make the situation worse,” said Kimsey.

Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried put out a video on Twitter urging Floridains to refrain from panic buying.

“Fuel is continuing to move around our state,” said Fried.

We witnessed first hand how panic can breed panic while speaking with Tallahassee resident Aryn Rosenbaum.

“Everyone’s panicking unfortunately and I only have an eight of a tank, so unfortunately I have to panic too,” said Rosenbaum.

When the pipeline will come back online isn’t entirely clear.

In the mean time, the state is working on finding other means to deliver fuel to impacted areas.

Director Kimsen told us if you are in a situation where you need gas now, try to only take what you need.

Gas is on the way.

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