Drivers finding some gas pumps out of unleaded, railroad commissioner says no need to panic

Analyst says issue is logistics, delivery to retailers

SAN ANTONIO – Signs of Harvey's ripple effect showed up at some gas stations Thursday: they read "no gas."

"I've got to go somewhere else, I guess," said Crystal Montez, whose gas gauge was on E.

One station north of downtown had the pumps bagged. At some other stations around town, unleaded pumps ran dry, although the pricier premium was flowing.

As word spread throughout the day of some dry pumps, concerns grew and so did lines.

Harvey's power caused havoc in the Gulf, shutting down refineries, offshore drilling and pipelines. That prompted heavy demand both before and after the storm.

So is there a gas shortage?

RELATED: Despite rumors, there is not a gas shortage

"There is no sign of a physical shortage yet," said Dan McTeague, senior analyst at GasBuddy.com. "I think it's more of a logistical problem."

It is a sentiment that Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton echoed.

He said he understands that it is "scary for people." He said there are currently 15 refineries either shut down after Hurricane Harvey or operating on reduced capacity, but that is not causing an issue.

Sitton said even if those refineries were able to produce the two million barrels of gas, the current issues would exist.

RELATED: Texas, US gas prices spike after disastrous Hurricane Harvey

McTeague said the issue the is storm-caused difficulties in delivering gas to retailers and consumers.

"The retailers may be out of or low as a result of very heavy demand," he said.

One retailer on the north side said she did not know when their next shipment of fuel would arrive.

All this comes as we head into the Labor Day weekend, when demand is heavy.

Gas prices have already risen 17 cents in San Antonio since last week. Another similar jump is expected in the coming week.

AAA said it expects gas prices to normalize by mid- to late September.

As for his long-term expectations, McTeague said it is too early to tell.

Texans who believe they have been scammed or encountered price gouging during or after Hurricane Harvey, should call the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800) 621-0508, email consumeremergency@oag.texas.gov or file a complaint through the state attorney general's website

About the Author: