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Economy / Business

AAA Urges Against 'Panic Buying' Gas, Says Florida Not Reliant on Colonial Pipeline

a gas pump at a circle k with yellow pout of service bags on the pump handles.
Carl Lisciandrello/WUSF Public Media
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While there's no issue with Florida's fuel supply, increased demand and panic buying has led to fuel shortages at individual gas stations, like this Circle K in Safety Harbor.

A cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline has led to fuel shortages in parts of the southeast U.S. Florida is unaffected, but gas hoarding has caused some stations to run out.

While there is not actually a gasoline shortage in Florida, there are reports of fuel outages at various gas stations, due to unusually strong demand.

Colonial Pipeline is a major delivery system spanning from the U.S. Gulf Coast to the East Coast for transportation fuels and other refined petroleum products.

Mark Jenkins, spokesman with AAA, said while hackers targeted a major pipeline that supplies fuel, Florida remains well supplied.

"My message to Floridians right now is stop it. Remain calm," Jenkins said. "Florida has plenty of access to gasoline; we are not reliant on the colonial pipeline for our fuel as 90% of gasoline here in Florida comes in on a cargo ship through our ports."

That gasoline is then driven to the pumps on tanker trucks.

RELATED: DeSantis Declares State Of Emergency Over Gas Shortages After Pipeline Shutdown

Jenkins said the state of emergency enacted by Gov. Ron DeSantis allows drivers to put more hours on the road to carry more gasoline per truckload.

The Environmental Protection Agency has also authorized the state to sell both winter and summer gas.

“Gasoline sales have reportedly increased two to three times their normal rates here in the southeastern United States. And that is just an indication of how much concern there is out there in the market,” Jenkins said.

“So AAA is just urging drivers to remain calm, follow your normal fueling habits, and don't take more gasoline than you need.”

Florida gas prices have not made any significant gains since the Colonial Pipeline outage was reported on Friday. The state average is $2.89 per gallon. That’s two cents more than this time last week, yet three cents less than this year’s highest price of $2.91 per gallon, which was recorded in late March.

Colonial Pipeline is expected to announce restart plans on Wednesday. The company previously pledged to restore operations by the end of the week.

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