(Bloomberg) – For the first time since Hurricane Harvey submerged much of the state’s energy complex, Texas is being forced to move gasoline from other states.
The freeze put a strain on the energy supply chain at almost every point in time: crude oil and natural gas production was paralyzed due to power outages and lack of winter storage, refinery units failed offline, gas stations lost electricity, and road conditions were too treacherous for tankers to deliver fuel.
Transportation of fuel is an extremely rare practice in Texas, where the lion’s share of American oil, gasoline, diesel, and petrochemical production is located. The last time Texas retailers brought gasoline across state lines was in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey, said Paul Hardin, president of the Texas Food & Fuel Association. Nearly 14% of gas stations in the state still can’t sell fuel, Patrick DeHaan, director of petroleum analysis for retail tracker GasBuddy, said in an email.
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Pilot Travel Centers LLC’s Pilot Flying J chain brought gasoline from Arizona and New Mexico to supply some of their 100 Texas stores. Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores Inc. have also shipped gasoline in their 75 locations.
The logistics crisis is retreating into the broader oil rally, fueled by bolstering gasoline demand due to the wide availability of vaccines and federal stimulus controls. The temporary one failure of so many refineries have driven crude oil-to-fuel conversion margins to where they were before the pandemic stalled the U.S. economy a year ago.
Hardin said he expected the number of gas stations selling fuel to be almost back to normal by Wednesday.