A 7-Eleven at Frankford and Preston attracted a line of cars that stretched around the corner, blocking the right hand lane, while drivers awaited gas. (Photo credit: Amber Arnold)

Local News

Dallas Running Low on Gas Because of Harvey

Don't panic, but flooding from the storm has caused some fuel shortages at stations in North Texas.

Harvey-induced flooding in southeast Texas has led to shutdowns at some refineries and pipelines in the region, causing fuel shortages—exacerbated by a frantic perception of fuel shortages—at gas stations throughout North Texas.

While the scene in Dallas hasn’t quite devolved into a Mad Max-ian scramble for dwindling gas reserves in a post-apocalyptic desert, your social media feed and office-wide emails have probably reported difficulties in filling up. Long lines. Frustration. Some gas station owners are predicting they’ll run dry by the end of the Labor Day weekend — QuikTrip told the Star-Telegram it plans to stop selling gas at half its stores over the next couple days, and all three Fuel Cities are anticipating empty pumps come Monday.

Informal tip lines about where to find gas have sprung up online, and GasBuddy.com is a resource tracking (slightly rising) prices and availability at individual stations throughout North Texas. QuikTrip is updating a list of stores that currently have gas. RaceTrac is doing the same. And we hear, through the admittedly unreliable grapevine, that stores in the Mid-Cities and along Riverfront in Dallas are doing just fine for now. The 7-Eleven at Maple and Oak Lawn began attracting drivers early in the morning. A line at an Exxon in North Dallas snaked out into the street, blocking cars wanting to turn right from Preston onto Frankford.

In an interview with Channel 8, Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton told everybody to chill. “Concerns and even panic over gasoline shortages is leading to a sense that there’s a gasoline shortage,” creating the long lines and depleted gas stations, he said. A problem of supply and demand. It’s turtles all the way down.

“Don’t panic” is always sound advice, but especially now. There’s no need to start loading up the emergency bunker with gas canisters. The EPA and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Department of Energy have waived certain fuel requirements to make more gasoline available and to shore up shortages. The Texas Food and Fuel Association says that fuel terminals are beginning to reopen, although in some cases on a limited basis. There’s been no consensus estimate on how long this might last, as responders begin to pick up the pieces in the Houston area and surrounding counties, but a needless pile-up to rush to the gas station will only make things worse.

While a gas shortage may be a particular source of consternation for families plotting a Labor Day weekend getaway, it seems like a good idea to stay put for now, as much as possible. Walk. Ride a bike. Use DART. Help the people recovering from Harvey. Let emergency responders and southeast Texas residents trying to return home get to the pump first.


P.S. The Texas Food and Fuel Association cautions that gas prices should be expected to increase because of supply issues (more on how disasters affect fuel prices here), but customers shouldn’t immediately assume price gouging. Having said that, price gouging in the wake of a disaster is punishable by law in the state of Texas, and customers can file a complaint of suspected price gouging here.


  • BK

    Lol, use DART. I’d rather keep my wallet and life.

    • JM

      Sure, but only works if you’re near a Dart line and one goes by where you need to go.

    • MattL1

      It’s not that expensive, and the trains hardly ever crash.

  • I j https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/63b2c53c50ca639e7c551e1224551f1ff26899b0741c16138c233317da83ea86.jpg just paid 2.89 for regular at 635 an Preston. The line was only about 30 minutes. Other stations on Preston are 2.39 and 2.49, but the wait looks like at least an hour

  • A. Zigon

    Harvey didn’t cause this . Exxon, Shell, and all the others saw a chance to claim shortage and jack the price up. a week ago there were articles about the glut and no place to store anymore to the point that they were leaving ships loaded and floating in circles. No doubt there was a bump but it didn’t deplete the whole country.

    • Mike

      You don’t know how Oil & Gas works. The ships have crude oil on them that has to be offloaded and then refined down to gasoline. Gas is then trucked to distributors like your local gas station or 7/11.
      Guess where the refineries are?

    • AZ

      If there is a villain here, it’s not the oil companies. The villains are the weather and the media inducing an unnecessary panic and, in turn, artificially created shortfall. Supply and demand move prices. Supply was slightly down due to weather and media panicked the DFW public into spiking demand.

  • T_S_

    How much of this is self-fulfilling prophesy based on social media panic?

    • AZ

      99.9% of it

  • disqus_p6hJ2yoKYN

    Although to be fair, you can’t blame the media for reporting that refineries are temporarily shut down. The problem is that people are needlessly panicking.

    • AZ

      To be fair, the DFW media (like this article) dramatized a situation that wouldn’t have otherwise been any sort of crisis and, in turn, elicited a panic creating a self fulfilling prophecy of a shortage. No different than shouting fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire and then blaming the crowd when they they panic and trample one another.

      No media alarmists, no actual shortage.

  • Car10s Jasso

    My Bank of America location in Farmers Branch had it’s doors closed (no signs on door), even though there were employees inside and the outside ATM machines were working. The video teller in Florida said the bank was closed due to the hurricane. WTF?

    Also went by Walmart and they had turned off the system’s ability to take credit card payment, only cash or debit cards.

    • AZ

      Careful or media will report banks are closing and running out of cash and then shrug their shoulders about why bank customers suddenly panicked and created runs on banks actually caused banks to shut their doors.

  • A. B.

    Maybe you should change your own headline/lede/whatever to: “Concerns and even panic over gasoline shortages is leading to a sense that there’s a gasoline shortage,” [the Texas Railroad Commissioner] said, creating the long lines and depleted gas stations. It’s turtles all the way down.

  • Shel Riley

    This is what happens when individuals (LOCAL MEDIA) provide updates and the city goes haywire, and now they are saying cease all travel due to the issue with gas. Its so bad that individuals have to wait 1-2 hours to get gas due to all the media concerns with the refineries. Then they say don’t panic it will blow over, most of Texans commute to their job is over an hour so why should I not panic when I am used to running on a half of tank of gas and may not be able to fill my tank. It’ a double conundrum!

  • Mike Wargo

    This is fake news. We’re out of gas because the panicked morons hoarded it all.

  • Lisa A. Healy Stengel

    This is a result of media. Media is causing division….. whether it is racial, political or situational……always looking for the drama. Drama pays big bucks and it is ours paying for it. Media has POWER over our country and until the citizens figure it out, nothing will change.

  • terririmmer

    I can tell you everything was fine until everyone in their SUVs and trucks panicked and jammed up the gas pumps. Now we are out of gas.

    • AZ

      Agree – and all of them induced to do so by media hype about an potential shortage which led to panic and, in turn, an actual shortage for a few days. No sensationalist media hype like this article for ratings over public interest and there is no shortage that most consumers ever notice.

  • James Morgan

    It’s not the flooding, it’s the panic buying. A newstory noted that stores of gasoline were at a two-decade high — for this time of year — before the storm.