Facing Fuel Shortages, Floridians Can Use 'Gas Buddy' App

Sep 6, 2017

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says the state is working to get gasoline to areas experiencing shortages in advance of Hurricane Irma.

In the meantime, a free mobile app may help Floridians find out which stations still have fuel.

Patrick DeHaan, the senior petroleum analyst at Gas Buddy, said their newest feature - the Gas Availability Tracker - has now been rolled out to those who could be affected by Hurricane Irma in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

“The tool seeks to help motorists in need to find gasoline, and certainly in some cases. will also help motorists find stations that have power,” DeHaan said.

The app was developed during Hurricane Harvey in Texas. People can log in to view gas stations in their area. A red fuel pump icon indicates the station currently has gas. A red lightning bolt icon indicates the station has power, especially helpful for those in areas affected by power outages.

Credit Gas Buddy screenshot

The data is largely crowdsourced by users who submit information through the app. Motorists can also access the map through a web browser here. (Zoom into the area you're looking for gas to see the red and green symbols indicating fuel shortages. Gas Buddy says the mobile app is more accurate.)

The app's main purpose is to help users to find the best gas prices in their area, and submit their own findings. Some prices are also reported by the gas stations.

"(It) relies on community reporting and updating stations," DeHaan said. "We ask that people report who has gas to help everyone."

Meanwhile, Scott announced in Miami that he's asked the governors of Alabama and Georgia to waive trucking regulations so tankers can get fuel into the city, which is experiencing one of the largest shortages statewide as residents prepare for the hurricane’s landfall.

He told residents of the Florida Keys that "we're doing everything to get fuel to you as quickly as possible." Tourists are under a mandatory evacuation order, which began Wednesday morning.

Residents will then be ordered to evacuate, but the fuel shortage is putting a hitch in that.

Scott said, "We will get you out." But he's urging people to move quickly if they plan on evacuating, calling Irma a "life-threatening storm."

"Do not sit and wait for this storm to come," Scott said. "Get out now."

During his remarks Scott acknowledged that state officials were aware of fuel shortages and were trying to help get gas into the region. The Florida Highway Patrol accompanied gasoline trucks into the Florida Keys on Tuesday night.

Hurricane Irma is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history. It made its first landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean early Wednesday.

It's on a path toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida over the weekend.

Trump has declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.