Social Media Fuels Misinformation about Gas Crisis
SAN ANGELO, TX -- San Angelo Police Officers, Firefighters and first responders spent the better part of Thursday frustratingly directing traffic around popular San Angelo gas stations like Sam’s Club and Walmart after fake and false social media posts frightened area residents into believing there was a shortage of gas causing a run on gas stations across the city. While many retail gas stations have sold out of fuel, gasoline is still available in San Angelo.
At the same time, unfounded fears of a gas shortage fueled panic in cities large and small across the state.
Kermit Hoffpauir, COO of PXK Holdings out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana works with refineries along the Gulf coast. He said most of the refineries were already shut down when Hurricane Harvey hit. It was a normal cycle. “No refineries are damaged. Also, most refineries either were recently shutdown or about to shutdown to switch to winter blend fuels. There is a glut already in storage,” Hoffpauir said.
He said Exxon Baytown shut down not because it flooded, but because the Houston Ship Channel closed. It had no where to load its refined fuels since barges and ships could not get to the loading area. “And its tank farm was full,” he said.
That brought up the question of logistics. If ships cannot load gasoline and diesel, what about those trucks that hall gas out to west Texas?
“Pipelines deliver most of it. Barges and ships to go to south Florida and the east coast,” he said.
The way it works is there are large deliveries of refined product back out here via pipelines. Those fuel trucks headed to our gas pumps do not load up in Houston. Our trucks pick up refined product in Big Spring at the Alon terminal, or in Borger at the Phillips terminal, and then those trucks deliver the gasoline to convenience stores and gas stations in the region, Hoffpauir said.
It gets sent back to you via what is called a product pipeline. The refinery will send a batch of diesel, then a batch of gasoline, then a batch of jet fuel, or something like that,” he explained.
WATCH - a fuel truck replenishes the pumps at H-E-B t Sherwood way and Avenue N Aug. 31, 2017 at 9 p.m.:
Hoffpauir is convinced there is no shortage, nor is there a logistics problem out in west Texas. “You have almost 63,000 miles of pipeline and 4,700 tanks for refined products (not raw oil and gas) just in Texas,” he said. “Everyone started panic buying yesterday.”
Bottom line; Texas has plenty of gasoline and Facebook has plenty of naive individuals willing to cause panic through alarming and untruthful posts.