Hurricane Michael: Florida gas shortages reported

Some areas along the Florida Panhandle reported limited supplies of gasoline Wednesday, as Hurricane Michael barreled toward the southeastern U.S.

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Roughly one-third of gas stations in Panama City and the Pensacola market, including Mobile, Alabama, had run out of fuel as of midday Wednesday, according to GasBuddy data. In the Tallahassee area, about 22 percent of gas stations were tapped out.

Fuel shortages were largely contained in advance of Michael’s arrival, although the percent of gas stations with no fuel rose quickly as residents evacuated or made preparations to ride out the storm.

Motorists in Gainesville (5.6 percent), Fort Myers-Naples (0.5 percent) and Tampa-St. Petersburg (1.2 percent) reported a small percentage of stations without fuel. About 9 percent of all stations in Florida had no fuel.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said the storm is unlikely to impact prices at the pump. Over the last week, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline has dropped 1.3 cents to nearly $2.80 in Florida.

The National Hurricane Center upgraded Michael to a Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday, and officials in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas have declared states of emergency. The storm brought maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, and AccuWeather projected a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet in some parts of the Florida coastline. The weather service also said Michael could cause $30 billion in damage.